Carter Takes Blame\u2026 Twenty-five years ago today a secret mission to rescue American hostages held in Iran failed before it started as a helicopter crashed into a Hercules C130 transport plane, killing eight U.S. soldiers and wounding four others. The event marked a tragic and embarrassing turn for the United States. President Carter took responsibility for the mission\u2019s failure. He told the nation, "I ordered this rescue mission in order to safeguard American lives and protect America\u2019s national interests, and to reduce the tensions that have been caused among many nations as this crisis has continued." Fifty-three Americans were taken hostage on Nov. 3, 1979 by Islamic militants. The hostages were released 444 days later, on Inauguration Day 1981, the day that Ronald Reagan took office. For more details, read the Rescue Mission Report, prepared August, 1980.