Remembering the Iran Hostage Crisis and Those People Held Captive from Our Area

OLYPHANT, Pa. -- Forty years ago on Monday, a national nightmare began.

For more than a year, 50 Americans were held hostage after radicals stormed the U.S. Embassy in Iran.

Two hostages were from our area, Bruce German of Edwardsville and Michael Metrinko of Olyphant.

Some in Metrinko's hometown still haven't forgotten those dark times.

Michael Metrinko was well-known in Olyphant. His parents owned a cafe along Delaware Street in the 1980s.

Newswatch 16 was there for a huge parade in January of 1981 to welcome Metrinko home after he was finally released from captivity in Iran.

The hostage crisis began on November 4, 1979. Students stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran and took more than 50 Americans hostage.

Michael Metrinko was a foreign service officer stationed at the embassy.

When he finally got home, Metrinko told Newswatch 16 about the horrors of being held hostage.

"It ranged from the barbaric to the not bad, put it that way," Metrinko said.

"What's the barbaric consist of," asked Newswatch 16 reporter Jacqueline Boulden.

"The solitary confinement. Punishments of people they knew were physically ill," Metrinko replied.

Fast forward to 2019, Joel Sofranko still lives close by. Sofranko knew Michael growing up.

"Something like that never really happens to anyone in Olyphant. It just so happened that Michael was in the wrong spot at the wrong time," Sofranko said.

Judy Bernosky vividly remembers the excitement when Metrinko was finally brought home safely.

"Everyone was ecstatic! Couldn't believe it. So happy. Everybody was cheering. A hero's welcome for somebody who did a great job," Bernosky said.

Metrinko moved out of Lackawanna County years ago. Since then, he's written two books about the Middle East.


  • lickerblisters

    These hostages would have never been released had the Democrats held the Presidential office after Carter. Not until Reagan took office were the hostages released. Seems as if it were just yesterday. 🇺🇸

  • lamestream r

    Facts: Our State Department list Iran as the No.1 terrorist supporting state in the World! 5.7 billions dollars given to Iran by Obama through nonferrous ways by which it required a special license by the U.S. Treasury and granted under the Obama Administration. It was never disclosed to Congress or the American people. This is because the Obama Administration despised Israel. A lot of that money given by Obama to Iran went to terrorist organizations! We haven’t learn from the past, it just keeps on repeating under Democrat rule!

  • not_pennysltucky (@ds18301)

    It’s fashionable to say that and ignore the big picture. But check the facts. First he is a decorated Navy veteran. He has always demonstrated service to the people of this country and does so to this very day — even so close to his death. He is and was a dignified family man who brought civility to the Office of the President – unlike the circus/dumpster fire we have today. His accomplishments as president are numerous and he is too modest to talk about them: he worked to save lives by creating EPA superfund sites (like Love Canal etc), the first president to foresee the need for energy dependence after the rise of OPEC, numerous programs for controlling health care and the support of education. He made mistakes yes — these were times of great shifts in global power and there was no clear roadmap. You of course fail to mention the disgusting role of the GOP in that hostage crisis, now in the public record, of making a deal with Iran to not release the hostages to benefit the Reagan campaign (and of course they were all released the *day after* he became President — not a coincidence by any means. This continued during the Reagan presidency — Ollie North burning the Constitution to sell drugs to finance the sale of arms to terrorists which gave us the rise of Middle East terrorism. Unbelievable. I’d take Carter any day.

    • yabbadabbadude

      Your idea of “public record” is wack-job lefties that WOULD say that to smear Reagan. The fact of the matter is there is not one shred of a fact to support what they say. The truth is Iran released the hostages 20 minutes after Reagan was sworn in as President because they knew there’d be a war if they didn’t. They had no such fear with Carter.

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