FLORENCE – It was nearly 31 years ago that Iranian militants stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran and took 66 Americans captive. One of the hostages, U.S. government consultant Cortlandt Barnes, will speak from his own perspective at Francis Marion University's Lowrimore Auditorium on Thursday, Oct. 14.
The event will be held at 6 p.m. and is co-sponsored by Phi Alpha Theta, the history honor society, and FMU’s Robert E. McNair Center for Government and History.
Barnes is a native of northern Virginia. He attended Miami-Dade Junior College in Miami from 1963-1965, majoring in political science. He then went on active duty with the U.S. Navy as a communications technician at the Navy Class-A school in Bainbridge, Md. He graduated and was assigned to the Naval Security Group Activity in Kami-Seya Japan.
After returning to Virginia in 1968, he applied for a position with the Central Intelligence Agency and began his career with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in September 1969. Aside from Washington, D.C., he was assigned to Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines. During those years, his work included providing support to Nicaragua following the 1972 earthquake in that country and providing regional base communications to facilities within the Middle East during the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. In October 1979, a month before the Iran hostage crisis began, he was assigned to Tehran, Iran, where he was held hostage until the crisis ended in January 1981.
He spent 25 years at the CIA primarily in communications and science and technology disciplines. Upon his retirement from the CIA, Barnes joined Lockheed Martin Corporation, a global security company. In 1998, he left Lockheed to become an independent consultant to the U.S. Government, an endeavor he continues on a part-time basis today.
Barnes and his wife Cynthia reside in Leland, N.C.