On a dark night in 1977, a dozen Green Berets exited a C-130 aircraft, parachuting into a very different type of war. Aircraft hijackings had become almost commonplace, to the point that Johnny Carson would tell jokes about the phenomena on television. But it was no laughing matter for the Department of Defense, who realized after the Israeli raid on Entebbe that America was woefully unprepared to counter terrorist attacks.
This mission would be different. The Special Forces soldiers guided their MC-3 parachutes toward the ground, but their element became separated in the air, some of the Green Berets landing in the trees. The others set down alongside an airfield, landing inside a thick cloud of fog. Their target lay somewhere through the haze: a commercial aircraft that had been captured by terrorists. On board, there were no hostages, but a black box, a classified encryption device that could not be allowed to fall into enemy hands.
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