The 1919 Club Newsletter- May 2020

DeMolay and The Iran Hostage Crisis

The Iran hostage crisis was a diplomatic standoff between the United States and Iran. Fifty-two American diplomats and citizens were held hostage for 444 days from November 4, 1979, to January 20, 1981. A group of Iranian college students belonging to the Muslim Student Followers of the Imam's Line, who supported the Iranian Revolution, took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

Within Iran, taking control of the sovereign U.S. Embassy was widely seen as a retaliatory act against the U.S. and its influence in Iran especially its perceived attempts to undermine the Iranian Revolution and its longstanding support of the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who was overthrown in 1979.

After Shah Pahlavi was overthrown, he was admitted to the U.S. for cancer treatment. Iran demanded his return in order to stand trial for crimes that he was accused of committing during his reign. Specifically, he was accused of committing crimes against Iranian citizens with the help of his secret police. Iran's demands were rejected by the United States, and Iran saw the decision to grant him asylum as American complicity in those atrocities. The Americans saw the hostage-taking as an egregious violation of the principles of international law, such as the Vienna Convention, which granted diplomats immunity from arrest and made diplomatic compounds inviolable.

The Shah left the United States in December 1979 and was ultimately granted asylum in Egypt, where he died from complications of cancer at age 60 on July 27, 1980.

The crisis reached a climax after diplomatic negotiations failed to win the release of the hostages. President Jimmy Carter ordered the U.S. military to attempt a rescue mission – Operation Eagle Claw – using warships that included the USS Nimitz and USS Coral Sea, which were patrolling near Iran. The failed attempt on April 24, 1980 resulted in the death of one Iranian civilian, and the accidental deaths of eight American servicemen after one of the helicopters crashed into a transport aircraft. US Secretary of State Cyrus Vance resigned his position following the failure.

In September 1980 the Iraqi military invaded Iran, beginning the Iran–Iraq War. These events led the Iranian government to enter negotiations with the U.S., with Algeria acting as a mediator. The crisis is considered a pivotal episode in the history of Iran–United States relations.

The hostages were formally released into United States custody the day after the signing of the Algiers Accords, just minutes after US President Ronald Reagan was sworn into office. In Iran the crisis strengthened the prestige of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and the political power of theocrats who opposed any normalization of relations with the West. The crisis also led to American economic sanctions against Iran, which further weakened ties between the two countries. Three of the Americans in the Iran Hostage Crisis were Senior DeMolays:

Air Force Col. Thomas Edward Schaefer (the highest-ranking member of the military in the hostage crisis):

Senior DeMolay from Rochester Chapter, Rochester, New York
Initiatory Degree: 12-17-1945
DeMolay Degree: 1-7-1946
Birthdate: 10-5-1930
Both of his brothers are also Senior DeMolays: Walter Schaeffer, a military chaplain, and Richard H. Schaeffer, a Lutheran pastor
Passed away May 31st, 2016
Spent 150 days in solitary confinement during the Hostage Crisis

Air Force Lt. Col. David Milton Roeder

Senior DeMolay from Longvic Raon Chapter, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Past Master Councilor
Initiatory Degree: 3-4-1954
DeMolay Degree 3-23-1954
Birthdate: 6-21-1939

William James Daugherty

Senior DeMolay from O.M.A. Vadett Chapter, Claremore Military Academy, Oklahoma
Initiated into Delta Chapter, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Initiatory Degree: 3-19-1963
Birthdate: 8-31-1947
Transferred to O.M.A. Vadett Chapter in October 1963
Served in the CIA from 1979 until 1996
Became a professor of History and Political Science at Armstrong Atlantic State University in 1996
Worked as a consultant on the movie Argo

Interview with Lt. Col. David Milton Roeder U.S.A.F.  on Friday, April 3, 1981, during the 14th International DeMolay Congress.

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From Dad Land's Speech Notes

I wonder

I wonder if Christ has a little brown dog,

   Allcurly and wooly like mine,

With two silky ears and a nose round

   And wet and two eyes, round and tender that shine.

I’m sure if he had, that that little brown dog

   Knew right from the first He was God.

That he needed no proofs that Christ was divine,

   But just worshipped the ground that He trod,

I’m afraid that He hadn’t, because I have read

   How He prayed in the garden alone,

For all His friends and disciples had fled,

   Even Peter, the one called stone.

And O-, I am sure that that little brown dog

   With a heart so tender and warm,

Would never have left Him to suffer alone,

   But creeping right under His arm,

Would have licked those dear fingers in agony



And counting all favors but loss,

When they took Him away would have trotted behind

And followed Him right to the cross.

-Fr. Seifert


Come back next month for more speaking notes of Dad Lands, and fascinating pieces of DeMolay history!

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