The Most Successful Rescue Mission of the US Military: A Remarkable Achievement

Choose the rescue you think is the most successful!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Jun 16, 2023 10:18 (Updated on Dec 7, 2023 10:15)
Welcome to StrawPoll, where your opinion matters! We've curated an exciting ranking of the most successful rescue missions executed by the indomitable US Military. These awe-inspiring missions showcase the bravery, skill, and dedication of America's finest. But now, it's your turn to join the ranks and have your say! Dive into this thrilling list, relive the incredible stories, and cast your vote for the top rescue mission that stole your heart. And if you believe we've missed a crucial operation, fear not, for you hold the power to suggest and add it to our list. So gear up, soldier, and embark on this captivating journey through some of the most daring and triumphant moments in military history!

What Is the Most Successful Rescue Mission of the US Military?

  1. 1
    This mission successfully rescued American prisoners of war in North Vietnam in 1970.
    Operation Ivory Coast was a highly successful rescue mission conducted by the US Military during the Vietnam War. It was aimed at liberating American Prisoners of War (POWs) held captive at the Son Tay prison camp in North Vietnam.
    • Date: November 20, 1970
    • Objective: Rescue US POWs at Son Tay prison camp
    • Location: Son Tay, North Vietnam
    • Forces Involved: Approximately 100 US Army Special Forces soldiers
    • Execution Method: Heliborne assault
  2. 2

    Operation Urgent Fury

    United States Military
    This mission rescued American medical students and restored democracy in Grenada in 1983.
    Operation Urgent Fury was a successful military operation conducted by the United States in October 1983, primarily in Grenada. It was initiated with the objective of liberating American citizens and restoring order in the country after a coup d'état took place.
    • Objective: Liberate American citizens and restore order in Grenada
    • Dates: October 25 to December 15, 1983
    • Location: Grenada, Caribbean
    • Forces Involved: United States, Caribbean nations, and Grenadian opposition forces
    • Troop Size: 7,600 United States troops
  3. 3
    Operation Desert Storm
    US Air Force · Public domain
    This mission rescued Kuwaiti hostages and liberated Kuwait from Iraqi invasion in 1991.
    Operation Desert Storm was a military operation led by the United States in response to the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. The primary objective of the operation was to liberate Kuwait and prevent further aggression by Iraq. It marked the first major military operation since the end of the Cold War and involved extensive airstrikes, ground assaults, and a naval blockade. Desert Storm was a decisive victory for the international coalition, effectively ending the Persian Gulf War.
    • Duration: January 17, 1991, to February 28, 1991
    • Countries Involved: United States, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, France, Canada, and more
    • Number of Coalition Forces: Approximately 956,600
    • Number of Casualties: Coalition: 292 killed, 776 wounded | Iraq: Estimated 20,000 – 35,000 killed
    • Key Objectives: Liberate Kuwait, neutralize Iraq's military capabilities, protect Saudi Arabia
  4. 4

    Operation Gothic Serpent

    United States Military
    This mission rescued American soldiers in Somalia in 1993.
    Operation Gothic Serpent was a military operation conducted by the United States Military in Somalia in 1993. The objective of the operation was to capture key lieutenants of Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid and enhance stability in the region.
    • Date: October 3-4, 1993
    • Location: Mogadishu, Somalia
    • Objective: Capture key lieutenants of Mohamed Farrah Aidid
    • Force Size: 160 US Special Forces and Rangers
    • Duration: Approximately 18 hours
  5. 5
    This mission rescued American and coalition hostages and removed the Taliban from power in Afghanistan in 2001.
    Operation Enduring Freedom was a military mission launched by the United States in response to the September 11 attacks. It aimed to combat terrorism and bring stability to Afghanistan. The operation began on October 7, 2001, and lasted until December 28, 2014.
    • Duration: October 7, 2001 - December 28, 2014
    • Objective: Combat terrorism and establish stability in Afghanistan
    • Location: Primarily Afghanistan, with operations extending to other regions
    • Forces Involved: United States military, NATO forces, and Afghan military and security forces
    • Troop Deployment: At its peak, around 140,000 troops were deployed
  6. 6

    Operation Iraqi Freedom

    United States Military
    This mission rescued American and coalition hostages and removed Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq in 2003.
    Operation Iraqi Freedom was a military operation conducted by the United States in 2003 as part of the broader Iraq War. The primary objective of this operation was to overthrow the Iraqi government led by Saddam Hussein and eliminate perceived threats of weapons of mass destruction.
    • Duration: March 20, 2003 – December 18, 2011
    • Location: Iraq
    • Objective: Regime change, disarmament of weapons of mass destruction
    • Troop strength: Initial invasion: around 150,000 US troops, Coalition forces: additional troops from various countries
    • Casualties: US: 4,576 killed, 31,952 wounded (as of April 30, 2010)
  7. 7
    This mission successfully killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda, in Pakistan in 2011.
    Operation Neptune Spear was a covert operation carried out by the United States military to locate and eliminate Osama bin Laden, the founder and leader of the terrorist group al-Qaeda. It took place on May 2, 2011, in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
    • Objective: Locate and eliminate Osama bin Laden
    • Date: May 2, 2011
    • Location: Abbottabad, Pakistan
    • Primary Participants: United States Navy SEALs (DEVGRU), 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Night Stalkers)
    • Code Name: Operation Neptune Spear
  8. 8
    Operation Red Wings
    U.S. Navy photo (RELEASED) · Public domain

    Operation Red Wings

    United States Military
    This mission rescued a Navy SEAL team in Afghanistan in 2005.
    Operation Red Wings was a highly significant rescue mission conducted by the US Military during the War in Afghanistan. It took place on June 28, 2005, in the Kunar Province, where a team of four Navy SEALs was assigned to gather intelligence on Taliban activity in the region.
    • Date: June 28, 2005
    • Location: Kunar Province, Afghanistan
    • Objective: Gather intelligence on Taliban activity
    • Rescue Team: US Navy SEALs
    • Number of SEALs: 4
  9. 9

    Operation Tomodachi

    United States Military
    This mission rescued Japanese citizens after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
    Operation Tomodachi was a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief mission conducted by the United States Military in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami that occurred on March 11, 2011. The mission aimed to provide immediate assistance and support to Japan in the wake of the natural disasters.
    • Date: March 2011
    • Objective: Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief
    • Location: Japan
    • Duration: Approximately 80 days
    • Number of personnel involved: Around 24,000
  10. 10

    Operation Inherent Resolve

    United States Military
    This mission rescued Yazidi and other minority groups from ISIS in Iraq and Syria in 2014.
    Operation Inherent Resolve is a multinational operation launched by the United States Military in 2014 as part of the global war on terrorism. The operation aims to combat and ultimately defeat the terrorist organization known as ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) or ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). It involves a coalition of over 80 countries, with the primary focus on Iraq and Syria. Operation Inherent Resolve consists of airstrikes, advisory support, intelligence sharing, and training of local forces to degrade and ultimately eliminate ISIS presence in the region.
    • Start Date: June 15, 2014
    • Primary Focus: Combating ISIS in Iraq and Syria
    • Coalition: Over 80 countries
    • Airstrikes: Carried out against ISIS targets
    • Advisory Support: Provided to local forces

Missing your favorite rescue?


Ranking factors for successful rescue mission

  1. Mission objectives
    How well were the mission objectives defined, communicated, and executed?
  2. Enemy resistance
    How well did the military personnel handle enemy resistance? Were there any casualties or injuries, and were they minimized as much as possible?
  3. Timing
    How long did the mission take, and how well was it timed in relation to other events or military operations?
  4. Personnel
    How well were the military personnel trained, prepared, and positioned to carry out the mission?
  5. Intelligence
    How accurate and timely was the intelligence gathered before and during the mission? Was the information used effectively?
  6. Coordination
    How well did the different military units involved in the mission coordinate and communicate with each other, as well as with outside agencies?
  7. Outcome
    Were the mission objectives achieved? Were all personnel successfully rescued and returned safely?
  8. Impact
    What was the impact of the mission, both in terms of immediate results and long-term effects?

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most successful rescue mission of the US Military. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or rescue is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 138 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each rescue once every 24 hours. The rank of each rescue is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


More information on most successful rescue mission of the us military

The US Military has been involved in numerous rescue missions over the years, but some stand out as particularly successful. These missions have been carried out in various parts of the world, including Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia, among others. The most successful rescue missions of the US Military are those that have saved the lives of American citizens, as well as those of allies and civilians who were in danger. These missions require careful planning, coordination, and execution, often involving special operations forces with advanced skills and training. From the daring rescue of hostages in Iran in 1980 to the recent operation to free American hostages in Nigeria, the US Military has a proud history of successful rescue missions.

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