All Carter did was waste our time by being in office. The Iran hostages were released NOT while Carter was president. They were released on the day Ronald Reagan was administered the oath of office.
But what happened leading up to his ouster was just horrible and turned into one of the biggest humiliations in US history.
It was called Operation Eagle Claw.
It was fairly complex and it's hard not to get bogged down in the details. So, here are the results:
In the ensuing explosion and fire, eight servicemen died: five U.S.A.F. aircrew in the C-130, and three U.S.M.C. aircrew in the RH-53, with only the helicopter pilot and co-pilot (both badly burned) surviving. During the following frantic evacuation by the C-130s, the helicopter crews attempted to retrieve their classified mission documents and destroy the aircraft. The helicopter crews boarded the C-130s. Five RH-53 aircraft were left behind mostly intact, some damaged by shrapnel. The Iranians gained at least four of them.
The C-130s carried the remaining forces back to the intermediate airfield at Masirah Island, where two C-141 medical evacuation aircraft from the Night Two staging base at Wadi Abu Shihat, Egypt (referred to as Wadi Kena by the U.S. forces due to its location near Qena) 26.555058°N 33.132877°E picked up the injured personnel, helicopter crews, Rangers and Delta Force members, and returned to Wadi Kena. The injured were then transported to Ramstein Air Base in Germany. The Tehran CIA team left Iran, unaware of their compromised presence.
He was a disaster of a president. This article online gives some of the reasons:
For example, when Carter came to power, there appeared to him to be a 'shortage' of interstate pipelined natural gas. The price of natural gas that had been introduced into the interstate pipeline system was regulated by the federal government at the well head, and it was obvious to the most casual observer that the reason there was a perceived 'shortage' was that the federal government was holding the price too low. How did the supply-siders know the interstate price was too low? Because there was no shortage whatsoever of so-called 'intra-state' natural gas, where market forces determined the price. That is, until Carter came to power, as long as you didn’t introduce the natural gas that you produced from the gas wells in your south pasture into Carter’s 'interstate' federally regulated pipelines, you could get whatever the in-state market would bear. In Oklahoma, where there was gas aplenty, Carter would only pay you 40 cents on average -- and about 60 cents maximum -- per thousand cubic feet (MCF). But your fellow Okies were perfectly willing to pay you -- at auction -- three or four times what Carter would allow. The only requirement on Okie buyers and sellers was that the gas couldn’t be introduced into the interstate pipeline system.
Jimmy Carter -- who believed with a religious fervor that you had no right to selfishly profit from producing and selling natural gas that God had placed under your south pasture -- was furious. Those dumb Okies weren’t going to be allowed to get away with that. So what did Carter do to solve the interstate pipelined natural gas 'shortage'? He slapped price controls on all domestically produced natural gas at the well head. He got Congress to pass a law that essentially -- unconstitutionally, without just compensation -- seized the private property of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of Americans.
So what did Okies -- who are not, after all, as dumb as Jimmy Carter -- do? Why, they stopped producing the natural gas that God had put underneath their south pasture. Everyone began to leave their natural gas in the ground and sat down to await the opportunity to make Jimmy Carter go away. Now, Carter had sure enough caused a natural gas shortage, for real. No one in their right mind was going to let Jimmy Carter have their gas for $0.60/MCF, when Jimmy Carter was paying Mexico $2.00/MCF for theirs. No one in their right mind was going to go out exploring for 'new' natural gas, and if they did accidentally find natural gas while exploring for 'new oil,' they were certainly not going to tell anyone -- especially not Jimmy Carter -- about it.
I remember when this happened. I was in college. Jimmy Carted thought he could do a better job distributing natural gas than the private sector could. What a disaster! The northeastern states ran out of natural gas! The University of South Carolina switched to fuel oil for their generators to free up natural gas supplies. We ran out of fuel oil and the school was shut down for two or three weeks.