Naval War College Review


On 4 November 1979 a group of Iranian militants and students stormed the walls of th American Embassy compound in Tehran, setting in motion a chain of events which led to the largest concentration of US naval power ever assembled in the Indian Oce an. By early December two carrier battle groups (CVBGs) were patrolling the northern reaches of the Arabian Sea. Apart from a peripheral role in the aborted rescue attempt, however, these forces were not used during the crisis. Ostensibly, their presence gave US policymakers a range of military options. For various reasons these options were not practicable, which tends to call into question the utility of the naval presence. Did it really matter?