By: Mir M.Hosseini
The operation Eagle was a rescue mission inside Iran given to U.S. special forces. Nearly 6 months after a group calling themselves "Students in Imam's path" stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and took the personnel hostage, President Jimmy Carter showed a green light for a rescue operation. Three C-130 cargo planes and 8 RH-S3D helicopters enter the south air borders of Iran without any resistance. After travelling 1000 kilometers north, around midnight they land at a deserted airport which was built by Allied Powers during the WWII near Tabas. A bus passing by on a nearby road was stopped and their passengers were being taken to a plane when things went wrong. A sandstorm caused low visibility. When a helicopter finished taking fuel from a plane and was taking off to let another helicopter take fuel, it hit the plane and 8 American soldiers were killed instantly. The driver of a tanker passing by ran away after he heard shots and there was a chaotic situation. The rescue team took off as soon as possible to save their own lives at least. They left most of their aircrafts and supplies which included heavy arms, even a tank.
In the morning when an investigation team from Revolutionary Guards came to the site for investigation, something more bizarre happened. Despite the fact that the area was secured by then and gendarmerie was around, 3-4 Iranian jet fighters approached the scene and fired rounds of ammo and rockets and destroyed some of the aircrafts. As a result one Iranian serviceman was killed at the scene.
The operation failed but it was a heads-up call for Iranians. It was obvious that there were insiders that supplied classified information to the Americans and were assisting them in such operations. This fiasco was another heavy blow for the Carter administration while Iranians celebrated it as a victory referring to the sandstorm as a miracle sent by God. After this incident, the hostages were divided and taken to secret places and kept there until their release on Jan, 21, 1981.