Skip to comments.The Desert One Debacle
Posted on 04/20/2006 4:08:59 PM PDT by shoptalk
WASHINGTON, D.C., APRIL 11, 1980, NOON
The meeting began with Jimmy Carter's announcement: Gentlemen, I want you to know that I am seriously considering an attempt to rescue the hostages.
Hamilton Jordan, the White House chief of staff, knew immediately that the president had made a decision. Planning and practice for a rescue mission had been going on in secret for five months, but it had always been regarded as the last resort, and ever since the November 4 embassy takeover, the White House had made every effort to avoid it. As the president launched into a list of detailed questions about how it was to be done, his aides knew he had mentally crossed a line.
Carter had met the takeover in Iran with tremendous restraint, equating the national interest with the well-being of the fifty-three hostages, and his measured response had elicited a great deal of admiration, both at home and abroad. His approval ratings had doubled in the first month of the crisis. But in the following months, restraint had begun to smell like weakness and indecision. Three times in the past five months, carefully negotiated secret settlements had been ditched by the inscrutable Iranian mullahs, and the administration had been made to look more foolish each time. Approval ratings had nose-dived, and even stalwart friends of the administration were demanding action. Jimmy Carters formidable patience was badly strained.
And the mission that had originally seemed so preposterous had gradually come to seem feasible. It was a two-day affair with a great many moving parts and very little room for error--one of the most daring thrusts in U.S. military history. It called for a nighttime rendezvous of helicopters and planes at a landing strip in the desert south of Tehran, where the choppers would refuel...
(Excerpt) Read more at iran.theatlantic.com ...
I can't read more. I known how it ends.
To get the range nedded, the sand screens had to be removed from the H-53s. Jimmuh fiddled around until the sand storm season started to send the mission. The helos were on site for about two months.
nedded = needed
Thank you. I don't forget.
Here's an old article:
The Disasterous "Desert One" Rescue Operation of 1980
Air Force Magazine ^ | Otto Kreisher
Posted on 10/13/2001
Restraint means weakness to the sandfleas. How did that "rescue" go again? How many brave American soldiers died for Jimmy's "restraint"?
This day after this disaster, Carter should have resigned.
Beckwith always blamed Carter for his interference in the details of the operation, such as not allowing him to use Army helicopter pilots.
He should have fallen on his sword, walked the plank, or been shot out of a torpedo tube; whatever the sub service does with disgraced officers.
The moment Reagan was sworn in, the hostages were released. Reagan would have nuked those Mullah @#^# !@&#'s back to the stone age, and they knew it.
I ran across someting similar the day after the disaster.
I was having lunch with a lady friend who was working in an area peripheral to the film industry. Her father had been a successful New York publisher and Hollywood producer. At this early point in her "career", before reality set in, it looked as though she might become a successful writer. After sitting down at our favorite Jewish deli in West L.A., she opened the conversation by saying, "Today I'm ashamed to be an American."
"Because the rescue mission failed?" I asked.
"No, because we even tried it."
I was too surprised to respond to that. I couldn't quite put myself into that mindset.
Apparently neither could Carter.
"Because the rescue mission failed?" I asked.
"No, because we even tried it."
Wow! It is scary to think how many Americans, rather than being proud of this country's greatness are, by some peculiar logic, ashamed or embarrassed. But if they really stopped and thought about it, in what other country would they prefer to have been born?
I'm with you, and I don't even like to be reminded that Jimmy Carter was ever President, let alone still alive and comitting acts of sedition on a regular basis.
May he rot in Hell.
I remember the announcement, and from that point on I knew we had someone special at the helm.
I love your profile page....short, sweet, succinct!! Bravo
Sorry, a little personal history there...
I recently confirmed my suspicions about a friend of mine. I knew he was Delta back about then. He just told me that he was there and buried a few members of his team. I knew better than to ask him for more details, just thanked him again.
Well, thank you much.
I'm glad to see this article, and I hope to see more connect the dots. Jimmy Carter's legacy should not be forgotten - now especially.
If you're thinking he "negotiated" the Sadat-Begin deal, the fact is, it was Sadat's initiative, and the Israelis leapt at the chance. Jimmuh provided a few cabins in the woods, a nice gesture from a President who's only achievements consisted of a series of.....nice gestures.
May God continue to watch over the families of those that perished during that mission.
Today in Odd History, President Jimmy Carter was attacked by a rabbit during a fishing trip in Plains, Georgia. The rabbit, which may have been fleeing a predator, swam toward his boat, "hissing menacingly, its teeth flashing and nostrils flared." President Carter was forced to swat at the vicious beast with a canoe paddle, which apparently scared it off.
Upon his return to the White House, Carter told his staff about the furry amphibian's assault. Most of them refused to believe him, insisting that rabbits can't swim (although since most mammals can swim, there's no reason to believe that rabbits cannot), and that even if they could, they certainly wouldn't attack humans, and certainly not presidents. Fortunately, a White House photographer had been on the scene, and had recorded the bizarre attack. The photograph showed Carter with his paddle raised, warding off a small creature which might, or might not, have been a rabbit. One staffer was quoted as saying, "You couldn't tell what it was." Undaunted by their skepticism, Carter had the image enlarged, and there it was--a killer bunny rabbit, apparently bent on assassinating the president.
The story might have ended there, except that White House Press Secretary Jody Powell mentioned the incident to Associated Press reporter Brooks Jackson in August. The Washington Post ran it as front page news. The original photograph was not available (until the Reagan administration leaked it in 1981), but the paper filled the gap with a cartoon modeled on the poster for the movie Jaws, starring the rabbit and entitled Paws. Powell made a belated attempt to impress the public with the seriousness of the attack, calling the creature a "swamp rabbit," but since Carter had to appease his rabbit-loving constituents by insisting that he had not actually smacked his buck-toothed opponent with his paddle, but only splashed water at it to drive it away, it seemed unlikely that he had been in danger. The entire episode became a symbol of Carter's floundering presidency. According to Powell, "[I]t shows the extent to which an insignificant incident can snowball and end up in newspapers and news shows across the country. Carter biographer Douglas Brinkley says, It just played up the Carter flake factor.... I mean, he had to deal with Russia and the Ayatollah and here he was supposedly fighting off a rabbit.
Note: While some presidential apologists have suggested that Carter might actually have been attacked by a nutria, a large, aggressive aquatic rodent, others have insisted that the President's assailant was a simple, if unusually vicious, bunny rabbit. Fulk, the 12th century king of Jerusalem, was killed by a rabbit. (Well, really he was killed by a fall from his horse, but the horse had been startled by a rabbit.) And many years ago, I was the owner of a Blue Dutch rabbit named Sequin. One of my friends still bears the scars of an encounter with Sequin--a perfectly matched set of parallel teeth marks, where Sequin's fangs closed on her hand and ripped through the flesh when she pulled her hand away. Bunnies are, indeed, fiercer than anyone but Monty Python has generally given them credit for.
Oh too funny but I like your McCain undercover stuff better!
Carter did more to damage America in four years than any president before or since--Clinton & Clinton had eight.
Betraying Taiwan and the Shah, giving away the Canal, embracing every enemy, shunning every friend.
The release of the hostages synchronous with Reagan's innauguration says it all.
May that be the last thought in Carter's brain when he dies.
your timeline is a little off
the EAPS filters were removed for 5% more horsepower, not range
Thanks for the ping.
I helped out on this new book, and also the Discovery Channel special that is coming out any day here.
We were all supposed to get free copies of the film! ...And book!
I do too. I remember it. I was quite young, but I remember feeling ashamed for my country. It's the only time in my life I ever felt that way.
The disaster in the desert was when I started to question my support for Carter and liberalism in general, leading to my vote for Reagan that November - my first ever vote for a Republican.
It was my first election. I voted for Reagan and have voted Republican ever since.
You are correct. The helos were put on the Nimitz in Naples over the Christmas hoilidays. Rescue attempt went in late April. I was writing from 25 year old memory, I should have checked. (Time moves at a different rate when you are just driving around in circles in the middle of the ocean for that long a time.)
The helo guys I talked to on the hangar bay said the screens were removed for the range.
Sometimes when I look at my children I say to myself, "Lillian, you should have stayed a virgin."
Thanks to George 76 for this great post.
The good side of Desert One was that it gave Charging Charlie a platform to build the current SpecOps community. Without D1 I am not sure we would be as good as we are at SpecOps.
de opresso liber
Absolutely great and so appropriate for this thread!
"When Carter was in, the day count for the captives was above 400. When Reagan was elected, the day count ended. PDQ."
Amazing wasn't it.
Don't forget what a friend of the Sandinistas he was (and probably still is), and every other Latin American commie.
Love the Lillian Carter quote.
Carter never meet a communist mass killer dictator, he didn't love and respect from Castro to the Chia Head in N Korea and of course the Sandinistas.
Carter's greatest mistake was taking the oath of office... all else followed.
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