When I think of all that could have gone wrong, I'm even more proud of my small role in Operation Eagle Claw.
We came in with eight Sea Stallions and arrived under cover of darkness at our staging area called Desert 1 in the god forsaken Dash-e-Lut desert. We refueled. We sat in the sun all day and then ferried the Delta force soldiers 260 miles to Desert 2 just outside Tehran. The next night we drove to Tehran, we stormed the embassy and rescued the hostages. We took everyone across the street to the soccer stadium. Our helicopters swooped in and whipped everyone back to the desert and on to freedom. AC 130 gunships blanketed the sky over Tehran and provided protection with supporting fire. Carrier Air Wing Eight would take off from the Nimitz and provide air protection.
We were concerned about several complicating possibilites and not real confident of what we do if any of them occurred. It had to be perfect. Something as trivial as a cracked rotor blade on any of the Sea Stallions might have ruined the entire operation. And God knows, in this hostile desert environment, a sandstorm could surprise us at any moment . One of our helicopters could have easily struck the tail of an EC-130 aircraft as it brought fuel to the staging area. We would have had to abandon our Stallions and get the hell out of there which would have been both deadly and humiliating not only for us but for our president Jimmy Carter.
Thank God there were no SNAFUS.
We got everybody out. Nobody was killed neither us nor them.
The next day, the hostages and the Delta force came home to a tremendous, ticker tape reception.
It was the proudest of moments.
Sometimes, I try to imagine what might have happened if things had gone FUBAR.
Carter might have lost the election to the actor Ronald Reagan and his CIA buddy George Bush with all his pals in the oil business. God knows where that might have taken us.
Carter was re-elected winning both the popular vote and the electoral college by wide margins.
The rest is history.
The Camp David accord held up which led to peace in the Middle East.
The Cold War ended when the USSR collapsed under its own weight.
The wall came down.
Gaddafi and Sadaam continued to be minor pains in the ass. Everyone was relieved when Hussein swore off weapons of mass destruction, particularly poison gas. Without his co-operation there might have been a civil war in Iraq which could have turned into an oil war.
The war between Iraq and Iran continued but we didn't much care who won.
Carter, on the basis of Eagle Claw, used his political capital to fix the health care situation which everybody understood was a nightmare in the making.
Carter's second term was such a success that Mike Dukakis was chosen to succeed him.
Under Duke, health care was cleaned up for good and peace reigned in the world. Duke also improved the incarceration system which had become a blight on the land.
Bill Clinton was next.
Technology exploded and our economy went along with it as prosperity shortened the distance between classes. Everybody benefitted. Palestine and Israel settled their remaining differences.
The Republican Party opposition dwindled as the Democrats thrived. Both parties realized the importance of working together.
Al Gore followed Clinton and explained the Inconvenient Truth about climate change. Under his leadership, the entire world responded and humanity cleaned up its act. He managed to protect Social Security by keeping it in a lock box.
Barrack Obama came next. Obama focused on race relations. His eloquence, intelligence and charissima charmed the world. We got to the top of the mountain together.
And finally, the last glass ceiling was shattered as Hillary Clinton became the first woman to become president of the United States. The most qualified person to ever take the office.
Yep, we got there.
Except we didn’t.
Donald flipped the script.
We fucked up.
I played my little part.
As did we all.
God bless America.
God save America.