Never before in its 204 - year history has the United States been so humiliated. Why did a carefully planned rescue operation end in such tragedy? Early on Friday, April 25, Americans were awakened with startling news. A daring super-secret, risk-laden raid to rescue the 50 American hostages held prisoners in Iran had ended in disaster. A grim-faced President Carter told his countrymen over radio and television at 7 a.m. that he, as commander in chief, had been forced to abort the long planned and intensively rehearsed mission when three of the eight helicopters assigned to the operation malfunctioned. A minimum of six craft were considered essential to proceed into the besieged U.S. Embassy compound from a desert 'rendezvous 250 miles from Tehran. The crews had already flown 500 miles undetected over Iranian airspace from the aircraft carrier Nimitz in the Arabian Sea.
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