Sunday, April 24, 2005

Desert One

Today is the 25th anniversary of the launch of Operation Eagle Claw, which means that tomorrow marks the 25th Anniversary of Desert One. For those of you who don't know or remember what that means, go here for a quick overview, and here for something a little more in depth. Also, check out this article on the 25th anniversary remembrances being held at Hurlburt Field. As referenced in the the above links, the tragedy at Desert One was a watershed moment in the history of U.S. special operations. This was the turning point that led to the creation of 160th SOAR, USSOCOM, and numerous other reforms that paved the way for eventual success in Desert Storm and even bigger success in the current GWOT.

So, Army Rangers and Delta, Navy and Marine helicopter crews, and Air Force Combat Controllers and Herk crews, thank you for having the guts to try. Despite having inadequate equpiment, poor planning, and a pick-up team, you still undertook the mission and proved to the world, that even in a time of national malaise, the spirit of the American fighting man would never be broken, no matter how high the odds and how risky the endeavor.

Thank you.

(An addendum: something worth noting is that even after the failure of Eagle Claw, many of the same Air Force personnel were involved with an even more audacious plan to outfit a C-130 with retro, boosting, and lifting rockets, crash land it into a stadium, load the hostages, already freed by pre-infiltrated Delta operators, onto the Herky-bird and then get everyone the heck out of Dodge by attempting a near vertical take-off using the boosting and lifting rockets. Before you think this was just a pie in the sky concept, a Hercules was actually tested with this arrangment; it crashed and burned while in testing. See above about the spirit of the American fighting man.)