Capt Charles Thomas McMillan, II

Photo added by Eddieb

Capt Charles Thomas McMillan, II

  • Birth 4 Oct 1951 Corryton, Knox County, Tennessee, USA
  • Death 25 Apr 1980 Khorasan-e Jonubi, Iran
  • Burial Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado, USA
  • Plot 003 C 072
  • Memorial ID 17906460

In loving memory of....Capt Charles Thomas McMillan, II.
*** Next of Kin - Janis A. McMillan, Wife, Charles T. McMillan, Father, Nora M. McMillan, Mother

You may be gone, no longer living on this earth; but you will live on - in the memories of your family and friends. There will always be a part of you living in those who knew you. You will live on because we remember you!

Remembering Desert One

Aborted Attempt To Rescue Iran Embassy Hostages

Honored eight American servicemen who died trying to rescue American hostages in Iran 25 years ago.

A ceremony in Washington, on the 25th anniversary of the ill-fated rescue attempt, brought together the families of those killed, their comrades and those servicemembers who carry on the special operations mission.

In November 1979 Iranian militants took 53 Americans in the US Embassy in Tehran hostage. It was the most egregious violation of the principles of diplomacy in the history of statecraft, L. Bruce Laingen, the highest-ranking American taken hostage, said at today's ceremony.

On April 25, 1980, the rescue attempt, dubbed "Operation Eagle Claw," came to a flaming end on the floor of the desert near Tehran. Eight Americans -- five airmen and three Marines -- were killed when the rotor of a helicopter sliced into the fuselage of a C-130 transport aircraft.

The eight killed in the failed rescue attempt were:
• Air Force Maj. Richard L. Bakke
• Marine Sgt. John D. Harvey
• Marine Cpl. George N. Holmes Jr.
• Marine Staff Sgt. Dewey L. Johnson
• Air Force Maj. Harold L. Lewis
• Air Force Tech. Sgt. Joel C. Mayo
• Air Force Maj. Lyn D. McIntosh
• Air Force Capt. Charles Thomas McMillan II

Monday's ceremony, sponsored by the White House Commission on Remembrance, also brought together 10 of the hostages. The hostages were finally released by the Iranians after 444 days in captivity.
There was sadness at the ceremony, but there was also admiration for the courage the men showed and the knowledge that out of the fires of Desert One -- as the site in Iran was known -- came the impetus for a new, stronger, more integrated military and special operations force.

Air Force Lt. Gen Norton Schwartz, director of the Joint Staff, called the failure of the Iran hostage rescue mission a seminal event in recent American military history. He said the mission was "so important that the nation's self-image, it's standing and reputation in the world community, and the fate of a presidency hung in the balance."

When the mission failed, media reports were full of recriminations, and nations around the world called the United States a toothless lion. "Yet at the same time, the memory of Desert One propelled a generation, of which I am a part, to assure that America would never again repeat that searing, transforming experience of the 25th of April 1980," Schwartz said.

"Never again would we be so unprepared, so ill-equipped, so entirely dependent on the skills, resourcefulness of our people, who, despite shortcomings in force cohesion, equipment and external support, lifted off into the darkness with only one mission imperative: bring Americans home," he said.

Schwartz said the often-maligned heroes of that mission lifted off from the deck of the USS Nimitz with the "conviction that completing the mission served interests far larger than themselves, at a moment in time when the nation's reputation and American lives truly hung in the balance."

The general said that all Americans share the grief of the families who lost loved ones that day. But they died trying, Schwartz said. They kept the promise. "Because on that murky night, when they faced America's adversary and their own fears, your men did not submit," Schwartz told the families. "They did not retire. They didn't then, and we, their successors -- in large measure in their honor -- do not and will not now."

Army Lt. Gen. William Boykin was one of the would-be rescuers that day. He said that accident "was the greatest disappointment of my professional career because we didn't bring home 53 Americans."

Now principle deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence and warfighter support in the Pentagon, Boykin also called the mission one of the proudest moments of his career. He said all the men in the rescue effort knew the risks. "None of us wanted to die; none of us expected to die, but we knew the risk," Boykin said. "We knew that we were up against an entire nation with a force of barely 100 people."

Thomas O'Connell, assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity combat, said the sacrifices of those eight men were not in vain. Special operations forces have been in the forefront of the fight against terrorism today.

"If you need inspiration in these tough days, give thanks for those who risked and gave all on this mission, but also give thanks for those who survived and made great strides for our national security," O'Connell said.

MCMILLAN, Charles T., II "Tom"
Class of 1973

- killed on 25 April 1980 in Iran, about 200 miles from Tehran, as a C-130 navigator
- 1 of 8 died while attempting to rescue 53 US hostages in Tehran when their MC-130 plane crashed with a RH-53D Navy helicopter
- President Carter had ordered the abortion of the mission after 3 of the 8 helicopters experienced malfunctions
- Member of the 8th Special Operations Squadron at the time
- Posthumously awarded 1 DMSM for technical skill, devotion to duty, and intense will for mission success
- Earned 1 AFCM, 1 NDSM, 1 Combat Readiness Medal, 1 AF Longevity Service Medal, 1 AF Outstanding Unit Award, among others
- 1976-9, navigation flight examiner for the MC-130E for the 7th Special Operations Squadron at Rhein Main, West Germany
- as a cadet, made the Dean's List
- in high school, was a member of the National Math Club, Mu Alpha Theta, the California Scholarship Society, and received the Bank of America Award for Mathematics
- known for being a sincere and dedicated professional
- memorial fund went towards supporting a missionary in Japan
- name is on the Graduate Roll of Honor and the USAFA War Memorial
- buried in the USAFA Cemetery

Bullets compiled by Heather Beer, Association of Graduates intern, Summer 2005.


Near the original headstones is a memorial marker to another heroic Tennessean. The marker reads:
Charles McMillan is buried at the United States Air Force Academy Cemetery in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Plaque: Located at the United States Air Force (Admin)

Capt Charles T. McMillan, II.
United Air Force
Husband of Janice Means McMillan
Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Only Son of Charles T. and Nora Long McMillan
Corryton, Tennessee, Born Oct. 4, 1951
A Tennessee Volunteer Who Gave His Life
While Attempting To Rescue 53 American
Hostages in Iran, On Apr. 25,1980

" A Privilege Of Many To Love Our Country,
But Destiny Decrees That Some Make
The Supreme Sacrific"

The President met with families of the following deceased
Capt. Richard L. Bakke, USAF !
I Capt. Harold L. Lewis, Jr., USAF
Capt. Lyn D. McIntosh, USAF continued I!I
**** Capt. Charles T. McMillan, II, USAF
TSgt. Joel C. Mayo, USAF
Sgt. John D. Harvey, USMC
SSgt. Dewey L. Johnson, USMC
Cpl. George N. Holmes, Jr., USMC

Operation Eagle Claw
Desert One, Iran

April 25, 1980

Plaque at Arlington National Cemetery

Captain Harold Lewis Jr., USAF, Aircraft Commander
Captain Lyn D. McIntosh, USAF, Aircraft Co-pilot
Captain Richard L. Bakke, USAF, Navigator
Captain Charles T McMillan, USAF, Navigator
TSgt Joel C. Mayo, USAF, Flight Engineer
Staff Sergeant Dewey L. Johnson, USMC, Helicopter Crew Member
Sergeant John D. Harvey, USMC, Helicopter Crew Member
Corporal George N. Holmes, Jr., USMC, Helicopter Crew Member


Air Force Capt. Richard L. Bakke
Marine Sgt. John D. Harvey
Marine Cpl. George N. Holmes Jr.
Marine Staff Sgt. Dewey L. Johnson
Air Force Capt. Harold L. Lewis
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Joel C. Mayo
Air Force Capt. Lyn D. McIntosh
Air Force Capt. Charles T. McMillan II

The Injured
Air Force Staff Sgt. Joseph ""J.J.'' Beyers
Air Force 1st Lt. Jeffrey B. Harrison
Marine Maj. Leslie Petty
Marine Maj. James H. Schaefer

Compiled by researcher DIANE GREY

Posted 10/27/2010
The below streets were named for the following:
McMillan Street - Capt Charles T. McMillan
Bakke Street - Capt Richard L. Bakke
McIntosh Court - Capt Lyn D. McIntosh
Lewis Drive - Capt Harold L. Lewis Jr
Mayo Street - TSgt Joel C. Mayo
All were killed on 25 April 1980 during the rescue attempt of the American hostages held in Iran.

Point Of Contact
1st Special Operations Wing
History Office
212 Lukasik Ave. Suite 246
Hurlburt Field, FL 32544-5271



Family Members






  • Maintained by: Eddieb
  • Originally Created by: HEE
  • Added: 12 Feb 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 17906460
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Capt Charles Thomas McMillan, II (4 Oct 1951–25 Apr 1980), Find A Grave Memorial no. 17906460, citing United States Air Force Academy Cemetery, Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado, USA ; Maintained by Eddieb (contributor 46600350) .