At the Jackson Center on May 8, the Redstone-Huntsville Chapter of the Association of the United States Army or AUSA is sponsoring “An Evening in the Desert with Operation Eagle Claw” with seven U.S. Army veterans who participated in Operation Eagle Claw to free American hostages held by Iran in 1980. CONTRIBUTED

AUSA sponsors ‘Operation Eagle Claw’ about freeing hostages in Iran

MADISON – “An Evening in the Desert with Operation Eagle Claw” will assemble seven U.S. Army veterans as panelists who were in the mission to free American hostages captured in 1979 by Iran.

Redstone-Huntsville Chapter of the Association of the United States Army or AUSA is hosting the session on May 8 from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Jackson Center, 6001 Moquin Drive NW in Huntsville. This event marks the third time that AUSA and Army Heritage Center Foundation have raised funds for the U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum.

The session will date back to Nov. 4, 1979, when Iranian militants seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and abducted 53 hostages. Prolonged negotiations ensued to free the hostages.

U.S. President Carter eventually ordered the Iran Hostage Rescue mission with the Army’s Delta Force, sailors, airman and marines to attempt the rescue on April 24, 1980. After 444 days, the hostage crisis finally ended.

“I want to stress that ‘An Evening in the Desert with Operation Eagle Claw’ will be a historic event, as these veterans have never before told their story in public,” AUSA Redstone-Huntsville Chapter President Marc Jacobson said. “The lessons learned from OEC prompted the establishment of a new multi-service organization. The U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) became operational in April 1987.”

“Each service now has its own special operations forces under USSOCOM’s overall control,” Jacobson said. “Also created was the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment or SOAR Night Stalkers. The United States now trains military helicopter pilots for low-level penetration, aerial refueling and night-vision goggles.”

Army Delta Force Operators from this mission will look inside the real story in the desert and lessons learned for special operations, Jacobson said.

The seven panelists had specific orders in Operation Eagle Claw:

* Logan Fitch – Command and Control/Commander in B Squadron. Ride shotgun. Upon reaching the compound, kill the guard on the sidewalk and then control the Squadron.

* Phill Hanson – Assigned to Assault Team in A Squadron. Point man moving over the wall into the embassy.

* John ‘Johnny’ Jones – Team leader of A Squadron. In MG Team, secure the vehicle gate at the motor pool.

* Glen ‘Nick’ Nickel – Assaulter in B Squadron to eliminate the sentry on the inside of the embassy compound. Rendered aid to loadmaster, who was severely burned.

* Carl ‘Doc’ Savory — 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment. Delta (Airborne), Command Doctor.

* Mike Vining – In Squadron B for position of Assaulter and EOD. Secure the second floor of the ambassador’s residence and maintain an overwatch position on the roof. Rendered aid to helicopter pilot, who was badly burned.

* Steve Wright – In A Squadron armed with M203. Suppress any Iranian reaction from the Iranian Military Compound on the west side of the Embassy Compound. Worked with Farsi-speaking drivers in developing vehicle assault plan.

Paul Pardew is event organizer (

Tickets for veterans and active-duty military personnel cost $75. Tickets for engaged citizens cost $150.

AUSA is the Army’s private, nonprofit educational organization established in 1950. AUSA educates, informs and connects the total Army: soldiers, civilians and their families, industry partners and supporters of a strong national defense.

Funds that the event raises will augment Huntsville’s expansion and renovation of its Veterans Museum.

For more information, visit


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