Died when: 33 years 348 days (407 months)
Star Sign: Taurus
Operation Eagle Claw, known as Operation Tabas (Persian: عملیات طبس) in Iran, was a United States Armed Forces operation ordered by U.S. President Jimmy Carter to attempt to end the Iran hostage crisis by rescuing 52 embassy staff held captive at the Embassy of the United States, Tehran on 24 April 1980. The operation, one of Delta Force's first, encountered many obstacles and failures and was subsequently aborted. Eight helicopters were sent to the first staging area called Desert One, but only five arrived in operational condition. One had encountered hydraulic problems, another was caught in a sand storm, and the third showed signs of a cracked rotor blade. During the operational planning, it was decided that the mission would be aborted if fewer than six helicopters remained operational, despite only four being absolutely necessary. In a move that is still discussed in military circles, the field commanders advised President Carter to abort the mission, which he did. As the U.S. forces prepared to withdraw from Desert One, one of the remaining helicopters crashed into a transport aircraft that contained both servicemen and jet fuel. The resulting fire destroyed both aircraft and killed eight servicemen. In the context of the Iranian Revolution, Iran's new leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, used the failed operation as a propaganda tool. He claimed that the mission had been stopped by an act of God ("angels of God") who had foiled the U.S. mission in order to protect Iran and his new conservative theocratic government. In turn, Carter blamed his loss in the 1980 U.S. presidential election mainly on his failure to secure the release of the hostages.