By Staff Writer | August 21, 2015
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter expressed during a Thursday news conference his regret over the tight logistics, and subsequent failure, of Operation Eagle Claw, a multi-branch military operation launched early in 1980 to rescue 52 American diplomats who had been captured from a U.S. embassy in Iran by Islamic revolutionaries the previous year. Eagle Claw was aborted prior to execution following the loss of three out of the eight Navy RH-53D helicopters due to a combination of sandstorm delays and mechanical failure. Mission requirements had specified a minimum of six helicopters to carry out the rescue, hence the abort order. Worse, one of the helicopters later crashed into a parked C-130 plane, resulting in eight lives lost and several injuries. "I wish I had sent one more helicopter to get the hostages, and we would have rescued them," Carter said.