While today the Nation mourns the events of 9/11. The attack on the United States will never be forgotten. The lives lost in the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and that field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, will always impact us. On this date each year, the Nation remembers the First Responders who also gave the Ultimate Sacrifice trying to help others.
This article is also about September 11 but in the year of 2012. In 2012, Benghazi, Libya is classified as one of the most dangerous places in the world. Most countries have closed their Diplomatic Offices there and pulled all their personnel from Benghazi. This is fear of attack by the militants there.
The United States still had a Diplomatic Compound in Benghazi. This was not an official Consulate. Approximately a mile away was a CIA outpost commonly referred as the “Outpost”. This complex was guarded by a team of Private Military Contractors from a company called Global Response Staff (GRS).
The Team was made up of:
Tyrone S. Woods (United States navy Seal)
Jack Silva (United Navy Seal)
Mark Geist (United States Marine Corps)
John Tiegen (United States Marine Corps)
Chris Paronto (United States Army Ranger)
Dave Benton (United States Marine Corps: Scout Sniper)
The CIA Outpost is commanded by “Bob”, who is strict in his orders of not engaging civilians in the area. United Sates Ambassador Chris Stephens to try and keep diplomatic relations in the unrest. Ambassador Stephens, against opinions to leave the area due to unrest, decided to stay at the Diplomatic Compound. He was protected by two Diplomatic Security Agents (DSA): Scott Wickland and Dave Ubben. There was also guards from the “17 Feb” local Militia that was hired to protect him.
On the morning of September 11, 2012, Ambassador Stephens noticed several suspicious men are taking photos of the Compound. He alerts his Diplomatic Security Agents who go look for these men. Seeing the Diplomatic Security Agents coming toward them, the men run away. The Agents are not sure if the men are Insurgents.
Later that night, Militants from Ansar-al-Sharia group attacked the Compound. The “17 Feb” guards quickly deserted their post, leaving the compound wide open for the attack. DSA Wickland takes Ambassador Stephens and and IT Specialist named Smith into a Safe Room.
The Militants try to breach the Safe Room but are unable to. So, they set fire to the building as well as various buildings in the compound, hoping to smoke or burn the Ambassador out. DSA Wickland is able to escape but loses Stephens and Smith in the smoke.
While this is going on, the GRS has heard the gunfire and gotten the message that the Compound is under attack. As they stage and get ready to leave the CIA Outpost, they are told to “Stand Down” by “Bob”. Several times, Tyronne Woods tries to get “go ahead” order from the CIA Chief but is told to “Stand Down” every time. Finally after sometime, Woods deploys the GRS Team, and they leave the Outpost enroute to the Compound.
Upon arriving at the Compound, the GSR Team met up with the DSA. Woods and Silva make entry into the burning building where Stephens is supposed to be located. Due to the harshness of the flames and smokes, neither GSR member is able to stay long in the building. They are able to find Smith’s body and pull him out of the inferno. They are unable to locate Stephens’s body.
The decision is made to return to the Outpost Separate vehicles are used for the exit of the Compound. One of the vehicles takes the wrong route back to the Outpost and is followed by the Militants. Fearing an attack by the Militants, “Bob” places several calls for help, which were denied. There was even a call for an F-18 Hornet Airplane fly over, which was also denied.
Contact was finally made with Glenn Doherty, a GRS member who forms a team that flies to Benghazi after several delays. The attack comes before the second GRS Team arrives. The original GRS Team is able to defend the Outpost, driving the Militants back. Doherty and his Team arrive and prepare to evacuate the Outpost. Before they can leave, the Militants launch a mortar attack. Ubben and Geist are wounded, with Geist’s arm is partially severed. Woods comes to help the two Operators and is killed by a Mortar. Doherty is also killed by a Mortar.
As the GRS Teams prepare to make their last stand, a convoy of vehicles approaches the Outpost. This is an element of the Libya Shield Force with more GRS members. They evacuate the people from the Outpost and take them to the airport. It is also learned that Ambassador Stephens body was found behind the Compound where he had perished.
Everyone is evacuated from the airport. The GRS Members received Private Contractor Medals in a private ceremony. Geist does regain use of his arm. All members of the original GRS Team retired from Private Contractor work.
Over the years, there has been blame of what went wrong that day. The CIA states that there was never a “Stand own” Order. However, all of the GRS Members testified that there was. It has been reported that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the one who denied aid and that President Barak Obama was aware of this. No matter who is the blame, this was a tragedy that while it did not happen in the United States, involved United States Citizens and could have been possibly avoided.
On this September 11, while remembering the tragic events that took place in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania, please remember the ones that perished in Beghazi. There is a movie called 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers pf Benghazi. If you haven’t seen it, it is well worth watching.
Bobby Inman is retired from Law Enforcement after 21 years of Service. He is a Consultant for Southern Heritage Gun & Pawn in Tuscumbia. He has articles published in Law & Order Magazine, Police Marksman Magazine, Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement Magazine as well as several published ebooks on Amazon, Kobo Writing, as well as Nook (Barnes & Noble). He is owner of Poopiedog, an Animal Rescue Dachshund, who is his constant companion. He is a Senior Investigative Reporter for the Quad Cities Daily. Bobby is the Photographer for Continental Championship Wrestling.