Recent Events Bring the Past to Mind

iran hostages

Iran Hostage Crisis November 4, 1979, to January 20, 1981


The recent (January 2020) events about USA and Iran affairs is filling Web sites with news reports, comments by readers of those sites and comments at sites based upon comment input about any and every conceivable topic. The military and militia-related sites I frequent are abuzz with current and past events with frequent mentions made of the Iranian Hostage Crisis that ended when President Reagan took over from  President Carter.

I was driving long-haul semi-truck from 1978 to 1980 and when a load took me by his residence and time allowed I would stop for a visit with a fellow I went overseas with aboard a navy warship on my first overseas tour. It was his second trip and he shared a few tips with me on how to avoid being ripped off and what to beware and be aware of. A generally good guy thought highly of by crew members. And me.

For privacy purposes and other reasons those in the know will understand I am omitting some information and altering names to ensure those involved in this story remain anonymous.

Shortly after the Iranians took the hostages I stopped by “Al’s” place for a visit. The load I had carried across the USA was due for unloading the next afternoon nearby so I had a chance for a visit and grabbed it. Entering his abode I pulled out a baggie of prime Colombian Gold and smiled as I asked… “Bong or doobie.” Proud of his new bong he loaded it up and the toking commenced. The WestPac*-bought stereo belched out the rock and roll as we sighed and relaxed and enjoyed the mellow buzz along with the break from the daily norm.

After a few minutes general catch-up banter talk turned to the Iranian hostage event. Al got serious. Very serious. His father was ex-military. I knew he was working for a government bureaucracy. Al told me that since I had last visited several months earlier he had been sent on a temporary assignment to Tehran, Iran expected to last several months so he brought his wife, Al’s mother along.

Al said that the government agency his dad worked for had contacted him about his folks and that they had no information and that when they learned of anything they would contact him immediately. Of course Al was worried but he held the worry well. He was a warrior but even the toughest man will hold concern about a loved one. Unsure how to proceed I listened more than I spoke and let Al set the stage for the short time available for the visit.

Al spoke of his father’s duties with an agency I shall not mention. I gave my word that all he said would never be revealed by me and such it shall be. We spoke about possibilities and worst and best case scenarios confronting his parents stuck in Iran. Time went by fast and the late hour sent me to my semi to sleep for the night to be prepared for the finish of my trip to unload the goods at the waiting warehouse.

With the load off I decided Al needed support so I called dispatch and told them I was taking a few days off. Parking the trailer behind the grocery store that allowed me to park there I drove the tractor minus the trailer to Al’s house and surprised him. His smile told me he was grateful for the company. We continued what we had done the day before with one difference… we started planning, if such be required, to enter Iran and get his parents out of that hostile country.

We diligently examined every scenario we could think of and all the positives and negatives of every plan we thought of. Looking back I see how the lack of Web access made our attempts at creating a viable plan extremely difficult and amateurish but we had to try.

While planning we took doobie breaks and visited local attractions to view the lovely lasses prancing around enjoying the admiring male eyes. Pizza-to-go taken back to his abode kept us fed. We followed events on TV and the phone call that offered new information from the agency never arrived during the several days I spent there.

Several days into our planning we ran out of scenarios and were stumped. If we had unlimited wealth we could have concocted plans that may have had at least a partial chance at success but budgetary restraints limited us greatly. At least we tried. Al was still worried but at least we had not received bad news. With nothing left to do but relax and smoke doobies (Al had taken some vacation time during this period) it was time for me to grab a load and hit the road to earn the bucks that paid the truck payment and covered the many other expenses that keep the owner/operator long-haul trucker endlessly at work. Wishing Al a very sincere all-the-best to him and his parents I headed back out to my 48-state excursions. Cell phones did not exist yet so communications were more difficult. Pay phones and long-distance calls were very expensive so I  let the dispatcher know I wanted a load back to the area where Al lived as soon as possible.

Dispatch did their best but the loads kept me in the Mid-west and east coast areas for nearly three-months until I got one headed for the west coast. I grabbed it and away I went. As soon as it was unloaded I took a few days off and headed for Al’s place. He heard the rumble of the semi and met me outside with joy on his face.  Looking at him I knew the news was good.

Entering the house I pulled out the newest batch of the finest Colombian Gold obtained from my Mid-west biker connection and we rolled a doobie to burn as he shared the news. Exiting Iran, smuggled out by Iranian citizens he knew from his hush-hush work in that country, his mother and father entered Turkey and found safety at a USA military base in that country. From there the USA flew the couple back to the USA and that is where they called Al to inform them of their adventures. The agency involved called Al several days later. I guess those folks were really busy what with all going on in Iran at the time.

Al was so damn happy!!! And I was, too. HOORAY!!!

So here we are with Iran in the news again. Al died awhile back. A little too young but we are both at the age where death can strike at any time. That is true for all of us due to accidents and unexpected criminal acts but Al died naturally. Rest in peace, Al. I will always remember our planning how to invade a foreign country on the other side of the world and rescue your folks. And I will also remember how great it was when learning they had escaped using their own wits and the help of some decent Iranian folks.




*WestPac: Navy terminology. Anything related to the Western Pacific Ocean area. Often used by sailors to refer to a warship’s deployment from a USA base to Asian waters west of the International Date Line. Cruise lengths vary with my cruises lasting in the 7- to 9-month range.

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