Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Iran Hostage Crisis

November 4, 1979 - The Iran Hostage Crisis

" the aftermath of 9/11, we said, "My God, it began with us."

Bruce Laingan

Charge d'affaires of the US Embassy and Hostage

Iranian students take over the United States Embassy in Tehran, Iran

United States Embassy Hostages

On November 4, 1979, thousands of Iranian students, overran the US Embassy and took about 90 people captive. The non-Americans were freed. Later, some were freed, including the women (except for two) and blacks (except for one), on the grounds that they were unlikely to be spies and had suffered enough with the oppression of the Americans. Another hostage was released in July 1980 due to illness. 52 hostages were held for 444 days. Six others had escaped and taken refuge at other embassies. On January 28, 1980, Canadian diplomats helped these six to flee Iran. The Canadian Embassy was then closed.

Thousands of other protesters pressed around the embassy compound, responding to the call by the country's new leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, to attack US and Israeli interests. They demanded the return of the shah, Muhammad Reza Pahlevi, for trail and execution.

President Carter eventually halted oil imports from Iran, imposed a complete economic embargo, froze Iranian assets in the US and began diplomatic efforts to free the remaining hostages.

The hostages were finally released on January 20, 1981, moments after President Reagan was inagurated.

Today, the US Embassy in Iran serves as a museum to the revolution. It was opened in 2001. Outside the door are two bronze statues: the Statue of Liberty and a portrayal of one of the hostages. It is still the stage for angry demonstrations to chant anti-US and anti-Israeli slogans and to burn flags and effigies.


Twenty seven years ago, the country gasped in horror as the symbol of America and our freedom was taken over in Iran. We stayed up to watch the news, to hope and pray for their release. Nightline with Ted Koppel was born for the purpose of covering the event. It was the first strike in our continuing war with radical Islam.


The Hostages:

6 Evading Diplomats

Robert Anders, 34 - Consular Officer

Mark J. Lijek, 29 - Consular Officer

Cora A. Lijek, 25 - Consular Assistant

Henry L. Schatz, 31 - Agriculture Attaché

Joseph D. Stafford, 29 - Consular Officer

Kathleen F. Stafford, 28 - Consular Assistant

13 Women and African-American Personnel were captured, held hosage and released on 19-20 November, 1979

Kathy Gross, 22 - Secretary

Sgt. James Hughes, 30 - USAF Administrative Manager

Lillian Johnson, 32 - Secretary

Sgt. Ladell Maples, 23 - USMC Embassy Guard

Elizabeth Montagne, 42 - Secretary

Sgt. William Quarles, 23 - USMC Embassy Guard

Lloyd Rollins, 40 - Administrative Officer

Capt. Neal (Terry) Robinson, 30 - Administrative Officer

Terri Tedford, 24 - Secretary Sgt.

Joseph Vincent, 42 - USAF Administrative Manager

Sgt. David Walker, 25 - USMC Embassy Guard

Joan Walsh, 33 - Secretary

Cpl. Wesley Williams, 24 - USMC Embassy Guard

1 hostage captured, held and released on 11 July 1980 because of Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis

Richard I. Queen, 28 - Vice Consul 52

Remaining Hostages, held captive until 20 January, 1980

Thomas L. Ahern, Jr., -Narcotics Control Officer

Clair Cortland Barnes, 35 - Communications Specialist

William E. Belk, 44 - Communications and Records Officer

Robert O. Blucker, 54 - Economics Officer Specializing in Oil

Donald J. Cooke, 26 - Vice Consul

William J. Daugherty, 33 - 3rd Secretary of U.S. Mission

Lt. Cmdr. Robert Englemann, 34 - USN Attaché

Sgt. William Gallegos, 22 - USMC Guard

Bruce W. German, 44 - Budget Officer

Duane L. Gillette, 24 - USN Communications and Intelligence Specialist

Alan B. Golancinksi, 30 - Security Officer

John E. Graves, 53 - Public Affairs Officer

Joseph M. Hall, 32 - CWO Military Attaché

Sgt. Kevin J. Hermening, 21 - USMC Guard

Sgt. 1st Class Donald R. Hohman, 38 - USA Medic

Col. Leland J. Holland, 53 - Military Attaché

Michael Howland, 34 - Security Aide, held at Iranian Foreign Ministry Office

Charles A. Jones, Jr., 40 - Communications Specialist and Teletype Operator. Only African-American hostage not released in November 1979.

Malcolm Kalp, 42 - Affiliation Unknown

Moorhead C. Kennedy Jr., 50 - Economic and Commercial Officer

William F. Keough, Jr., 50 - Superintendent of American School in Islamabad, Pakistan, visiting Tehran at time of embassy seizure

Cpl. Steven W. Kirtley - USMC Guard

Kathryn L. Koob, 42 - Embassy Cultural Officer; one of two female hostages

Frederick Lee Kupke, 34 - Communications Officer and Electronics Specialist

L. Bruce Laingen, 58 - Chargé d'Affaires, held at Iranian Foreign Ministry Office

Steven Lauterbach, 29 - Administrative Officer

Gary E. Lee, 37 - Administrative Officer

Sgt. Paul Edward Lewis, 23 - USMC Guard

John W. Limbert, Jr., 37 - Political Officer

Sgt. James M. Lopez, 22 - USMC Guard

Sgt. John D. McKeel, Jr., 27 - USMC Guard

Michael J. Metrinko, 34 - Political Officer

Jerry J. Miele, 42 - Communications Officer

Staff Sgt. Michael E. Moeller, 31 - Head of USMC Guard Unit at Embassy

Bert C. Moore, 45 - Counselor for Administration

Richard H. Morefield, 51 - U.S. Consul General in Tehran

Capt. Paul M. Needham, Jr., 30 - USAF Logistcs Staff Officer

Robert C. Ode, 65 - Retired Foreign Service Officer on Temporary Duty in Tehran

Sgt. Gregory A. Persinger, 23 - USMC Guard

Jerry Plotkin, 45 - Civilian Businessman visiting Tehran

MSgt. Regis Ragan, 38 - USA NCO assigned to Defense Attaché's Office

Lt. Col. David M. Roeder, 41 - Deputy USAF Attaché

Barry M. Rosen, 36 - Press Attaché

William B. Royer, Jr., 49 - Assistant Director of Iran-American Society

Col. Thomas E. Schaefer, 50 - USAF Attaché

Col. Charles W. Scott, 48 - USA Officer, Military Attaché

Cmdr. Donald A. Sharer, 40 - USN Air Attaché

Sgt. Rodney V. (Rocky) Sickmann, 22 - USMC Guard

Staff Sgt. Joseph Subic, Jr., 23 - Military Police, USA, Defense Attaché's Staff

Elizabeth Ann Swift, 40 - Chief of Embassy's Political Section; 1 of 2 female hostages

Victor L. Tomseth, 39 - Senior Political Officer, held at Iranian Foreign Ministry Office

Phillip R. Ward, 40 - Administrative Officer

Constructed from Free At Last
by Doyle McManus

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