Tour of Duty Introduction


A Sailors Tale of His Tour of Duty in the U.S. Navy:

(August 1977 to February 1983)

“Operations Evening Light and Eagle Claw”


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ISBN NO. 978-1-4276-0454-5

Library of Congress Control Number:


By Bruce Henion – Energy Quest & U. S Aircraft Carrier Deployment History,  former Energy Quest National Energy Efficient Development, INC.

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Introduction and Outline



    It was difficult to blend in a Sailors Story amongst Naval Activities that for the Coral Sea included state side activities during underway periods with or without the Air Wing, Overhauls, Availability and deployment and Availability during my tour aboard.


Before departing for duty in the navy


    Before departing for duty in the navy, I had a waiting period of several months or maybe it was weeks, I can’t remember, during which time I had to settle up with the law. Chapter I briefly discloses my childhood to the age of eighteen, and a few weeks before I left for Portland, Oregon and then San Diego, California for the San Diego Navy Basic Training Command, now a residential community:


Chapter Outline located in Table of Contents


    Chapter II presents a short summary of Iran and Air Arm History (1941 to 1976).


        U.S. Aircraft Carriers “WestPac,” Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea Deployments include compressive aircraft carrier reports for each aircraft carrier upon departure and arrival, with charts illustrating squadron aircraft for each aircraft carrier, state side aircraft carrier activities, overhauls and deployment history, leading up to the Iranian Crisis and after. Naval activities presented within this book contribute to the historical record of events leading up to the Iranian Revolution, overthrow of the Shaw and Hostage crisis for 53 Americans during 444-days of hardships and suffering at the hands of revolutionaries that hated America. Iran and the USS Coral Sea (CV-43) were as distant from me as my home in Jefferson, Oregon, yet men aboard the Coral Sea were on “WestPac” from 15 February to 5 October 1977, on her Twelfth “WestPac,” participating in a Multi-nation combat exercises with Japan, Korea, and the Republic of China and U.S. Aircraft Carriers “WestPacs” and Indian Ocean Deployments (Indian Ocean operations keeping the peace in the Middle East - Iran History & Air Arm (1 January 1977 to 31 December 1977) (Chapter III).


Chapter Outline located in Table of Contents


    Boot Camp & Seaman Apprentice Training (September to November 1977)  (Chapter IV):


Chapter Outline located in Table of Contents


    After arriving onboard USS Coral Sea (CV-43) at Naval Air Station, Alameda, California, Local Training Operations and Carrier Qualifications became the routine (December 1977 to 6 March 1978) (Chapter V):


Chapter Outline located in Table of Contents


    Overhaul at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington (6 March 1978 to 8 February 1979)) (Chapter VI):


Chapter Outline located in Table of Contents


    U.S. Aircraft Carriers “WestPac,” Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea Deployments

(Indian Ocean operations keeping the peace in the Middle East during which time riots

against the shah's regime took place in several Iranian cities, resulting in the Iranian revolution with control of Iran shifting to Ayatollah Khomeini; followed by the Shah of Iran’s admission into the U. S.  (22 October 1979) for medical treatment which touched off a huge demonstration in Tehran demanding his extradition and on the morning of 4 November 1979, exactly one year before the United States Presidential election, a mob of around 3,000 students stormed the U.S. embassy gate in Tehran, overran the guards, and took the sixty-six people inside hostage, in the name of Ayatollah Khomeini, beginning - Iran History & Air Arm (1 January 1978 to 12 November 1979) (Chapter VII).


Chapter Outline located in Table of Contents


    On board USS Coral Sea (CV-43) at Naval Air Station, Alameda, Ca. (9 February to 12 November 1979) conducting at sea periods and Carrier Qualifications (Chapter VIII):


Chapter Outline located in Table of Contents


    USS Coral Sea (CV-43) ThirteenthWestPac” and first Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea deployment (Operation Evening Light and Eagle Claw during the Iranian revolution & Iran hostage crisisa (Iran History, Air Arm) and Cheju-Do Islands in the Sea of Japan on the way home via Korea), operating with other Aircraft Carriers and upon completion conducted training operations and Carrier Qualifications (Iran History & Air Arm (13 November 1979 to 30 June 1980) (Chapter IX):


Chapter Outline located in Table of Contents


    Operation Evening Light and Eagle Claw commenced on 24 April 1980, in an attempt to free hostages being held sine November 4, 1979. Activity aboard the USS Coral Sea (CV-43) CIC was centered on launching aircraft to defend the men at Desert One, and while USS Nimitz (CVN-68) aircraft were launched as well, helicopters for the operations flew off Nimitz rather than Coral Sea. COMCARGRU THREE and his staff were embarked aboard Coral Sea. By the time that the Shah was forced to flee, Iran had 188 operational Phantoms.


Appendix I


Energy Quest records and evidencesPages


Appendix II


Iran Air Force – Pages


IIAF -Imperial Iranian Air Force (mid '20s-feb79)
IIAA - Imperial Iranian Army Aviation, IIAA (-feb79)
IIN - Imperial Iranian Navy (-feb79)

IRIAF - Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (1980 to 2012)


Phantom with Iran


    “Next to Israel, Iran was the largest overseas operator of the Phantom. A total of 32 F-4Ds, 177 F-4Es, and 16 RF-4Es (plus 8 F-4Es borrowed from the USA and subsequently returned) were supplied to Iran before the fall of the Shah and the rise of the Islamic fundamentalist regime resulted in a cutoff of further arms supplies.


    The Shah of Iran had ambitious plans to use his country's oil wealth to make Iran into a major military power in the Persian Gulf region. The United States government actively supported the Shah's ambitions, hoping that his government would be effective counter to any Soviet expansionist intentions in the area. As part of this expansion of Iranian military power, the Nirou Havai Shahanshahiye Iran (Imperial Iranian Air Force) placed a order for 16 F-4Ds in 1967. A second batch of 16 more F-4Ds was ordered later. The first batch of F-4Ds arrived in Iran on September 8, 1968, with a total of 32 F-4Ds being ultimately delivered to the Imperial Iranian Air Force. Iranian F-4Ds were used in several unsuccessful attempts to intercept Soviet MiG-25s that were spying on Iran.


    The arms embargo against Iran in 1980 imposed by the West caused a severe spare parts and maintenance problem. Even the best-equipped units were often poorly trained and could not operate without Western contractor support. The political upheavals caused by the fundamentalist revolution made the situation much worse, with many pilots and maintenance personnel following the Shah into exile. As a result, by 1980 the Islamic Republic Iranian Air Force (IRIAF) was only a shadow of its former self, and when Iraq attacked Iran in September of 1980, only 40 percent of the Iranian Phantom fleet was operational” (Ref. 1138).


Onboard USS Coral Sea (CV-43) at Naval Air Station, Alameda, Ca. conducting a $30 million modernization SRA (14 July to 10 October 1980) - U.S. Aircraft Carriers “WestPac,” Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea Deployments (1980) - CV-43 Hawaiian Training Cruise (3 May to 6 June 1981) Tour of Duty aboard the Coral Sea concludes for YN3 Henion (December 1977 to 19 August 1981) - (Iran History, Air Arm & Iran hostage crisis and the Iraq and Iran War) (13 June 1980 to 31 January 1981) (Chapter X):


Iran hostage crisis Continues


    “Prime Minister Mohammed Ali Rajai appointed a commission to work out the terms for the release of the hostages, using Algeria as Iran's intermediary with Washington. The negotiations were long and complex. While the Tehran government wanted Washington to return the shah's wealth, the president did not have the legal power to do so” (Ref. 7).


    “The purpose of this committee, comprised of ten foreign-policy experts, was to be alert for any last minute surprises, including the possible release of the hostages, and to develop contingency plans to deal with them. In reality, the committee itself was part of the contingency plan. By dramatizing the possibility of a sudden move by Carter just prior to the election, the creation of the committee planted the idea in the public mind that any such move should be viewed as a desperate attempt by Carter to hold on to the presidency” (Ref. 4).


    “The unsuccessful Hostage attempt Operation Eagle Claw in conjunction with Operation Evening Light, resulted in the Iranians not releasing the hostages until after Secretary Christopher signs the accord at 3:35 E.S.T., 19 January 1981 and on January 20, 1981” (Ref. 11).


    “On 20 January 1981, the day of President of the United States Ronald Reagan’s inauguration, minutes after President Jimmy Carter leaves office, Secretary Christopher signs the accord at 3:35 E.S.T., 19 January 1981 and on January 20, 1981, and after last-minute delays over fund transfers, the United States released almost $8 billion in Iranian assets and, the hostages were freed after 444 days in Iranian detention; the agreement gave Iran immunity from lawsuits arising from the incident” (Ref. 10-See G. Sick, All Fall Down (1985) - The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Copyright © 2003 Columbia University Press).


    “An Algerian aircraft carries the 52 remaining Americans from Iran, ending the 444-day ordeal. The plane takes off immediately after Ronald Reagan is sworn in as president on January 20, and it lands in Algiers, before heading to the U.S. Air Force Base at Wiesbaden, West Germany” (Ref. 4). 


    At a cost of 8 billion dollars, nothing compared to the lives of so many Americans, yet this must be the first government paid ransom or settlement with terrorist.  This notion that America’s honor was preserved after paying ransom is not so. It was only do too the strength of the character of Ronald Regan that resulted in the Iranians change of mind that preserved the honor of America but to the Iranians America became the enemy and has been at war beginning in 1980 with the U.S.


    In my view, the U.S. Navy’s aircraft carrier air wings aircraft during Operation Eagle Claw, showed an armed force of strength of attack aircraft against 75 or so Iranian Aircraft, forcing the planes to land where they flew from, two to one, up held the honor of America while the Navy’s aerial superiority protected the Army Rangers at Desert One, themselves Heroes for there service to our country.


    And that’s the way its suppose to be. Had one Iranian Jet fired on an American Jet, the air battle would have resulted in devastation of the Iranian Air Force and the government of Iran 32-years ago.


    As of May 15, 2015, Iran is determined to obtain NUKES OR WAS IT NUCLEAR ENERGHY FOR ELECTRICTY?




    “The effects of the arms embargo and the shortage of spare parts caused the number of Phantoms which were available for combat steadily to decrease, and at the beginning of 1983, only 12 to 35 Phantoms could be put into the air at any given time. As Iranian capabilities declined, Iraqi capabilities gradually improved. Alter 1982, Iraq managed to improve its training and was able to acquire newer and better arms from French manufacturers, especially the Dassault Breguet Super Etendard and the Mirage F-1. The Iranians found it extremely difficult to keep their Phantom fleet operational all throughout the Iran-Iraq war.


     On June 5, 1984, two Iranian F-4Es were intercepted by two Saudi Arabian F-15C Eagles when they appeared to threaten Saudi oil facilities, and one of the F-4Es was shot down. This was the only time when one McDonnell product shot down another” (Ref. 1138)


    “The Iranians found it extremely difficult to keep their Phantom fleet operational all throughout the Iran-Iraq war. The Phantom is a very complex, maintenance-intensive aircraft, requiring 135 man-hours of maintenance in the shop for each hour in the air. The lack of spare parts caused by the arms embargo plus the general lack of adequate numbers of trained maintenance personnel made things even worse. A defecting Iranian colonel claimed that Iran's F-4 force was down to only 20 flyable aircraft by the end of 1986, with no RF-4Es still being operational” (Ref. 1127).


    As early as of 1984, Israeli was helping Iran so from then until today, what caused Iranians to want to kill Israelites and the Jews People?


    Nothing, Iran has hated the Jews for over a thousand years and that’s being historically fair.


    So why did they accept the U.S. and Israeli’s help?


    They were at War with Iraq and no other reason. The French of course was supplying aircraft as well and Russia was a major supplier of aircraft, weapons and arms.


    “Iran was only able to keep its F-4s flying by scrounging spare parts and replacements from whatever source it could. Israel secretly delivered Phantom spare parts to Iran, presumably thinking that by doing this it would help to keep Iraq occupied. There were reports that Israel supplied critical spare parts for the Phantom's APQ-120 radar, which made it possible to fire the Sparrow semiactive radar-homing missile. In addition, Iran was able to purchase some arms supplies by buying them on the world market, either legally or illegally. In August 31, 1984, an Iranian F-4 pilot defected with his aircraft to Saudi Arabia, and upon investigation his aircraft was found to have components that came from Israel and several NATO countries.


    “Although Phantom availability remained quite low all throughout the remainder of the Iran-Iraq war, as late as January of 1988, the IRIAF was still able to mount rocket attacks during the tanker war in the Gulf” (Ref. 1138).




    “In my view, the U.S. under Ronald Regan’s administration worked with Iran even though Iran had declared War with the U.S. in 1980 after Operation Eagle Claw, originating the sale of arms supplied to Iran” (Ref. 1068 & 1080):

· August 20, 1985. 96 TOW anti-tank missiles

· September 14, 1985. 408 more TOWs

· November 24, 1985. 18 Hawk anti-aircraft missiles

· February 17, 1986. 500 TOWs

· February 27, 1986. 500 TOWs

· May 24, 1986. 508 TOWs, 240 Hawk spare parts

· August 4, 1986. More Hawk spares

October 28, 1986. 500 TOWs Iran/contra: The Underlying Facts

The Contras - Part I – Ref. 1068


"Iran-Contra Report; Arms, Hostages and Contras: How a Secret Foreign Policy Unraveled" March 16, 1984 - Ref. 1080

Additional shipments of miscellaneous weapons and parts to Iran during the Iran-Contra Affair from 1985 to 1986, two years before the war ends, the IRIAF improved its air campaign against Iraq.


Iran-Contra Affair


    “According to the Report of the Congressional Committees Investigating the Iran-Contra Affair issued in November 1987, the sale of U.S. arms to Iran through Israel began in the summer of 1985, after receiving the approval of President Reagan.


    The report shows that Israel's involvement was stimulated by separate overtures in 1985 from Iranian arms merchant Manucher Ghorbanifar and National Security Council (NSC) consultant Michael Ledeen, the latter working for National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane. When Ledeen asked Prime Minister Shimon Peres for assistance, the Israel leader agreed to sell weapons to Iran at America's behest, providing the sale had high-level U.S. approval.


    Before the Israelites would participate, says the report, they demanded "a clear, express and binding consent by the U.S. Government." McFarlane told the Congressional committee he first received President Reagan's approval in July 1985.


    In August, President Ronald Reagan again orally authorized the first sale of weapons to Iran, over the objections of Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger and Secretary of State George Shultz. Because of that deal, Rev. Benjamin Weir, held captive in Lebanon for 16 months, was released. When a shipment of HAWK missiles was proposed in November of that year, Israeli Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin again demanded specific U.S. approval. According to McFarlane, the President agreed.


    By December 1985, the President had decided future sales to the Iranians would come directly from U.S. supplies” (Ref. 1058 - full story at reference or Chapter IX, Appendix II).


    “A defecting Iranian colonel claimed that Iran's F-4 force was down to only 20 flyable aircraft by the end of 1986, with no RF-4Es still being operational.


    “Iran's national will was decisively engaged by Iraqi missile attacks on Tehran and other large Iranian population centers during the "War of the Cities." The Iranian people were demoralized by repeated Iraqi missile attacks on their cities. As an illustration of this, more than one million people fled Tehran during the second "War of the Cities" in 1988” (Ref. 1127).


    “When the war ended in 1988, the IRIAF probably had only a dozen or less Phantoms that were still in good enough condition to fly. Estimates of the number of Phantoms that were operational with the IRIAF vary widely from 1981 to 1989.


Saddam’s Air Force fled to Iran


    “Something would happen that defines all logic but testifies to the old adage, I’d rather fight with the devil then give up to my enemies. Even though Iraq’s under Saddam Hussein waged war against Iran, killing countless people during a war from 22 September 1980 to August 1988, Iraqi pilots, Saddam’s Air Force fled to Iran at the onset of the Desert Storm in 1991, while ”reports suggested that more than 350 advanced aircraft were bought or made operational including, Russian Mig-27s, -29s, -31s, Tu-22M3 Backfires, Russian Su-24s, -25s, -27s, Il-76 transports, and French Mirage F-1s. Iran purchased a number of Mig-29s (Mig-29A and Mig-29UB trainers) from what was then the Soviet Union, and acquired a number of others impounded after fleeing Iraq during Desert Storm. Su-24MKs, SU-25Ks, and a number of Il-76 were acquired in the same way.


   At least 115 combat aircraft flew to Iran from Iraq during Desert Storm, out of the total of 137-149 aircraft flown to Iran or crashed en route, including military transports and commercial airliners. According to an official Iraqi statement, the combat aircraft included 24 Mirage F-1s, 4 Su-20 Fitters, 40 Su-22 Fitters, 24 Su-24 Fencers, seven Su-25 Frogfoots, nine Mig-23 Floggers, and four Mig-29 Fulcrums. Reports that Saddam Hussein ordered 20 Tu-22 bombers to Iran appeared unfounded. The reported orders in 1992 for Mig-27, -31, Su-22, and Tu-22M aircraft were either in error or failed to come to fruition as those aircraft types did not subsequently appear in Iranian inventory. In this period close to $2 billion was reportedly spent on foreign weapons systems” (Ref. 1127).


    “Iran and Iraq, even after years of fighting, were able to reconcile well enough to accept a fly in of hundreds of aircraft and pilots defecting so it would seem at least until the end of the first U.S. lead war against Saddam Hussein when Iraq’s forces invaded Kuwait to take over their oil wells and Saddam’s desire to rule the Middle East, resulting in Desert Shield and Desert Storm, the Iranians and Iraq’s association began anew because the infidels invaded Iraq. Today Iraq and Iran are beginning even another renewal of association and with Iran at odds with the world, what happens if Iraq ever becomes an ally with Iraq, something I think the governing powers of the world would appreciate provided Iran wasn’t on a course of self destruction” (Ref. 1138).


    “Estimates of the number of Phantoms that are currently operational with the IRIAF vary widely. Somewhere between 70 and 75 Phantoms were believed to be flying in Iran in the 90’s. Surprisingly, a few F-4Ds actually remain in service, but most of the IRIAF Phantoms are the F-4E version, plus a small-number of RF-4Es. IRIAF Phantoms have been subject to local upgrades--the APQ-120 radar of the F-4E and the APQ-109 radar of the F-4D have been significantly improved in range in both the tracking and search modes, and the IRIAF F-4E now even has a limited look-down, shoot-down capability. Most of the IRIAF Phantoms are now operated in an air-to-ground role or maritime strike capacity” (Ref. 1138).


    “In 1993 it was reported that Russia was to provide Iran with spare parts, armaments, and operating manuals for the Iraqi jets that flew to Iran during the Gulf War. In 1993 it was also reported that China had bought an unknown number of these Mig-29s from Iran, in exchange for Chinese missile technology and a nuclear power station. The two countries had reportedly reached agreement on the exchange in late 1992, with Iran having delivered some of the Mig-29s by the end of 1992” (Ref. 1127).


    Iran accepted help from Russia, Syria, France, Israeli and the U.S., as well as other allies Iran had at the time like China, mentioning an incomplete list of countries in this discussion in an attempt to be clear as to my view that the U.S. and Israeli attempted to work with Iran who had declared war on the U.S., a status that is still in effect and look where we are today, hoping Iran won’t obtain nuclear weapons, engulfing a middle east rush for nukes.


    Iran and Iraq, even after years of fighting, were able to reconcile well enough to accept a fly in of hundreds of aircraft and pilots defecting so it would seem at least until the end of the first U.S. lead war against Saddam Hussein when Iraq’s forces invaded Kuwait to take over their oil wells and Saddam’s desire to rule the Middle East, resulting in Desert Shield and Desert Storm, the Iranians and Iraq’s association began anew because the infidels invaded Iraq.


Chapter Outline located in Table of Contents


Reenlisted and stationed at Naval Special Warfare Department (NSWTD) / (BUDS/SEALS) and Human Resource Management and Training Department (HRMTD) at the Naval Amphibious School, Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado, San Diego, Ca. and USS Coral Sea (CV-43) 14th “WestPac” (5 October 1982 to 18 February 1983) (Chapter XI):


Naval Special Warfare Department (NSWTD) / (BUDS/SEALS)

Why I began running and swimming with thee students at BUD/S

Received BEQ and lived off base

AWOL, never again

SEAL Entrance Exam

A few memories while I served with the SEALS

Assigned to HRMTD, NAVPHIBSCOL, as the Admin Assistant

Helping an elderly lady made me aware of local Coronado History

The beginning of the end of my Naval Enlistment

Naval Bal Boa Hospital Psychiatric Clinic enrollment

U. S. Navy’s version of my medical discharge

Assigned as the Psychiatric Clinic Departmental Yeoman

Reassigned to HRMTD, NAVPHIBSCOL, as the Admin Assistant

Admitted to the Naval Bal Boa Hospital for an Acute Appendicitis

Reassigned to HRMTD, NAVPHIBSCOL, as the Admin Assistant

Enlisted Performance Evaluation



    After the Navy the world as I knew it changed (February 1983 to February 1985) (Chapter XII).


Supporting subjects:


Title and Copy Right Page

Dedication Page


Table of Contents (below)

*Author Introduction


*Book Introduction and Outline


*Warning and Disclaimer




Tour of Duty Introduction