Retired USAF Col. Thomas Schaefer, the former military attache at the US Embassy in Iran who was taken hostage for 444 days, died June 4. Schaefer, 85, died at a hospice facility in Scottsdale, Ariz. The former bomber pilot was the highest ranking military officer in the embassy in Tehran when it was seized on Nov. 4, 1979, and Iranian officials accused the Rochester, N.Y.,-native of “running a nest of spies,” according to The Associated Press. While captive, Schaefer was held for 150 days in solitary confinement and endured 14 days of interrogation. When he was finally released in 1981, Schaefer was invited to fly part of the way home in the cockpit of the aircraft taking the rest of the hostages back to the U.S., according to the AP. Schaefer retired from service about two years after he was released, and spoke publicly about his ordeal to students and adults facing adversity, the AP reported.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.