Chalma Lee Sexton, Jr.
Class of 1970
The Air Force Special Emergency Service Flight (AFSESF) protection and evacuation of the deposed Shah of Iran.
Lackland AFB, Texas and Contadora Island, Panama were two of the areas of operation.
"OPERATION EAGLE," was an AFSESF special tactical and protective service operation in conjunction with the United States Secret Service, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the 3700th Security Police Squadron, Lackland AFB, Texas.
The mission consisted of evacuation and protection of the deposed Shah of Iran, his Queen, members of the royal family and members of what remained of the Shah's staff.
Once the Shah was under United States protection, The President of the United States ordered him moved to Lackland AFB. He would receive medical testing and treatment at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center for what turned out to be terminal cancer.
The special operations mission was incident to and part of the 1979 United States Embassy hostage crisis in Tehran, Iran.
The mission began on 2 December 1979 and ended on 15 December 1979, with the highly classified ground and air movement to Contadora Island, Panama.
I was the Flight Sergeant for the tactical response and protection phase at Lackland AFB. I was also a member of the special AFOSI/SP (now called SF) protection team during the special mission to Panama.
The Eagle was the Shah's symbol. Thus, the operation, which kicked off with no official name - because events were unfolding so fast - was designated, "OPERATION EAGLE," by the team. The designation stuck, and was later used in the official after action report as well as historical documentation.
THE following information was extracted from Major Marie Shaddon's, "HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE ON THE USAF SECURITY POLICE and Air Force Security Police, Vol I, pages 46 through 48, by Colonel Jerry Bullock, USAF (Ret) - Turner Publishing 1996)
AIR FORCE SPECIAL EMERGENCY SERVICE FLIGHT (AFSESF) "OPERATION EAGLE"
DURING 1979 - 1980, AMERICANS WERE HELD HOSTAGE IN THE UNITED STATES EMBASSY, TARRAHN, IRAN.
THE SHAH OF IRAN WAS DEPOSED AND PRESIDENT JAMES EARL CARTER GRANTED HIM TEMPORARY ASYLUM IN THE UNITED STATES.
SINCE THE SHAH'S HEALTH WAS A MAJOR PROBLEM, THE PRESIDENT DECIDED TO PROVIDE HEALTH CARE AT THE WILFORD HALL USAF MEDICAL CENTER, LACKLAND AFB, TEXAS.
THE AIR FORCE SECURITY POLICE HAD BEEN FORMING, TRAINING AND EQUIPPING A "FLIGHT SIZE" SPECIAL OPERATIONS EMERGENCY SERVICE UNIT. THE FLIGHT WAS COMPOSED OF HAND PICKED SECURITY POLICE ACADEMY INSTRUCTORS. FLIGHT MEMBERS COMPLETED RIGOROUS PHYSICAL SCREENING AND ATTENDED NUMEROUS MILITARY, FEDERAL AND CIVILIAN TACTICAL AND SPECIAL OPERATIONS COURSES. AN AFOSI TECHNICAL SERVICE TEAM WAS LATER ASSIGNED TO THE FLIGHT.
FROM 2 - 15 DEC 1979, THE AIR FORCE SPECIAL EMERGENCY SERVICE FLIGHT (AFSESF), CONDUCTED A PROTECTIVE SERVICE OPERATION (PSO) FOR THE DEPOSED SHAH OF IRAN.
THERE WERE FOUR ATTEMPTS, BY IRANIAN, "STUDENTS", ON HIS LIFE. OVERALL, 34 APPREHENSIONS WERE MADE.
IMPRESSED WITH THE AFSESF'S TACTICAL PERFORMANCE; THE DIRECTOR OF THE UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE, FBI DIRECTOR AND AFOSI COMMANDER, REQUESTED THE FLIGHT'S YOUNG FLIGHT SERGEANT - TSGT CHALMA L. SEXTON, JR., AS TACTICAL PLANNER, ARMED SPECIAL AGENT AND OVERALL SECURITY ADVISOR, DURING THE SHAH'S HIGHLY CLASSIFIED MOVE TO CONTADORA ISLAND, PANAMA.
SERGEANT SEXTON ASSISTED THE PANAMANIANS IN ESTABLISHING OVERALL SECURITY AND PROTECTIVE OPERATIONS.
THE1980 DELTA FORCE - "DESERT ONE" - ABORTED RESCUE OF THE AMERICAN HOSTAGES, BROUGHT SPECIAL OPERATIONS UNITS UNDER CLOSE SCRUTINY.
THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE AND THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF, ORDERED SPECIAL OPERATIONS PLACED UNDER A UNIFIED COMMAND.
LIKE IT'S USAF/SP ANCESTOR, "SAFESIDE;" THE AFSESF WAS DISBANDED.
THE UNIT WAS OFFICIALLY DISOLVED IN LATE 1982.
THE ONLY OFFICIAL USAF PHOTOGRAPH OF THE AFSESF, HANGS ON DISPLAY IN THE AIR FORCE SECURITY POLICE MUSEUM, LACKLAND AFB, TEXAS.
Honoring Our Heroes
This area is dedicated to our alumni that have served or are serving in our armed forces!
Lost Class Rings
Have you lost your Warren Easton High School class ring? Have you found someone's class ring? Visit our Eagles lost class ring page to search for your class ring or post information about a found ring.