US Hostage Rescue (Operation Eagle Claw) Mission Fails

After feverish debate within the Carter administration, the decision is made to rescue 52 US embassy staff held captive by Iranian militants since November 1979 at the US embassy in Tehran. The mission is aborted after three of the eight helicopters at the staging area near Tehran prove unworkable; upon mission abort, one of the remaining helicopters crashes, killing eight servicemen. It is a humiliating event for the US. Before the raid becomes operative, Secretary of State Vance decides to resign in disagreement with the choice to use force to rescue the hostages. The mission fails due to poor training, planning, command structure, and bad weather conditions that might have been anticipated. The hostages are eventually released moments after Carter leaves office on January 20, 1981.