Iran Rescue Mission Monument

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The Iran Rescue Mission Monument commemorates the role of U.S. service members during a hostage crisis that took place amidst the Iranian Revolution of 1979. In January 1979, Iranian leader Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi fled into exile after a year of escalating protests. Iran's new leader, the Ayatollah Khomeini, declared the country an Islamic republic, and his fundamentalist regime encouraged anti-American sentiment.  On November 4, 1979, a group of several hundred Iranian students seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran, taking 66 of its employees hostage. The captors released women and African American hostages during the next two weeks, but 53 Americans remained captive.

By the spring of 1980, diplomatic negotiations had reached a stalemate, and on April 25 President Jimmy Carter authorized a secret military operation to rescue the remaining hostages. During mission preparations, however, a helicopter collided with a transport plane, killing eight American service personnel. The rescue mission was aborted. Iran did not release the hostages until January 20, 1981 — day 444 of their captivity, and the day of President Ronald Reagan's inauguration. 

Dedicated in 1983, the Iran Rescue Mission Monument consists of a white marble column with a bronze plaque listing the names and ranks of those who lost their lives during the mission. Three of the men — Maj. Richard Bakke, Maj. Harold Lewis, Jr. and Sgt. Joel Mayo — are buried in a grave marked by a common headstone, located about 25 feet from the group memorial. 

 

Iran Rescue Mission Monument
 
In Honor of Members of the
United States Armed Forces who
Died During an Attempt to Rescue
American Hostages Held in Iran
25 April 1980
U.S. MARINE CORPS
JOHN D. HARVEY
SGT
30 MAY 1958
GEORGE N. HOLMES JR.
CPL
20 JULY 1957
DEWEY L. JOHNSON
SSGT
26 MAY 1948
U.S. AIR FORCE
RICHARD L. BAKKE
MAJ
13 MAY 1946
HAROLD L. LEWIS, JR.
MAJ
26 FEBRUARY 1945
JOEL C. MAYO
TSG
26 OCTOBER 1945
LYN D. McINTOSH
MAJ
11 OCTOBER 1946
CHARLES T. McMILLAN
CAPT
4 OCTOBER 1951