Marines.Together We Served

Thursday, October 29, 2015

BENGHAZI - All Four Articles

The following four articles were all written as a result of the Benghazi, Libya debacle of September 11, 2012. I had the privilege of speaking on air with the Americhics (Molly Vogt and Kim Monson) on Radio Station KLZ 560 AM, Denver. The program airs weekly on Thursday at 2:00 PM Mountain Time. It was a delightful experience to speak with these ladies.
The articles are in the order as they were written.
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From: Chuck Roots,

          Pastor, Ripon Free Methodist Church

To:     Craig Macho

          Editor, Ripon Record

Subj.: Roots in Ripon, 3 October 2012

 
Courageous
 

Recently I was teaching a class in my church on the biblical character, Joshua. You remember him – he’s the one who took over for Moses to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. God made several promises to Joshua in the opening verses of this book of the Bible named after him. Three times God instructs Joshua to “be strong and courageous.” In fact, one of those times God instructed him to be “very courageous.” The road ahead was a tough one and Joshua would need to be up to the task.
 
The news has been full of the attacks on our embassies throughout the Muslim world, and in particular, the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others in Benghazi, Libya. However, apart from the shameful amount of disinformation willingly distributed by the Main Stream Media and the current administration, there’s a little known story of incredible bravery, heroics, and courage that should be the top story of every news agency across the fruited plain.

So what actually happened at the U.S. embassy in Libya? We are learning more about this every day. Ambassador Stevens and Foreign Service officer Sean Smith, along with administrative staff, were working out of temporary quarters due to the fact that in the spring of 2011 during the so-called Arab Spring, the United States cut ties with then president Moammar Gadhafi. Our embassy was looted and ransacked, causing it to be unusable. It is still in a state of disrepair. Security for embassies and their personnel is to be provided by the host nation. Since Libya has gone through a civil war of sorts in the past 18 months, the current government is very unstable, and therefore, unreliable

A well-organized attack by radical Muslims was planned specifically targeting the temporary U.S. embassy building. The Libyan security force that was in place to protect our people deserted their post, or joined the attacking force. Either way, our people were in a real fix. And it should be noted that Ambassador Stevens had mentioned on more than one occasion to Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, that he was quite concerned for his personal safety and the welfare of his people. It is thought that Ambassador Stevens was on a “hit list.”

A short distance from the American compound, two Americans were sleeping. They were in Libya as independent contractors working an assignment totally unrelated to our embassy. They also happened to be former Navy SEALs. When they heard the noise coming from the attack on our embassy, as you would expect from highly trained warriors, they ran to the fight. Apparently, they had no weapons, but seeing the Libyan guards dropping their guns in their haste in fleeing the scene, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty snatched up several of these discarded weapons and prepared to defend the American compound.

Not knowing exactly what was taking place, the two SEALs set up a defensive perimeter. Unfortunately Ambassador Stevens was already gravely injured, and Foreign Service officer, Sean Smith, was dead. However, due to their quick action and suppressive fire twenty administrative personnel in the embassy were able to escape to safety. Eventually, these two courageous men were overwhelmed by the sheer numbers brought against them, an enemy force numbering between 100 to 200 attackers which came in two waves. But the stunning part of the story is that Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty killed 60 of the attacking force. Once the compound was overrun, the attackers were incensed to discover that just two men had inflicted so much death and destruction on their numerically superior force.

As it became apparent to these selfless heroes, they were definitely going to lose their lives unless some reinforcements showed up in a hurry. As we know now, that was not to be. I’m fairly certain they knew they were going to die in this gun fight, but not before they took a whole lot of bad guys with them!  

Consider these tenets of the Navy SEAL Code: 1) Loyalty to Country, Team and Teammate, 2) Serve with Honor and Integrity On and Off the Battlefield, 3) Ready to Lead, Ready to Follow, Never Quit, 4) Take responsibility for your actions and the actions of your teammates, 5) Excel as Warriors through Discipline and Innovation, 6) Train for War, Fight to Win, Defeat our Nation’s Enemies, and 7) Earn your Trident every day (http://www.navyseals.com/seal-code-warrior-creed).

Thank you, Tyrone and Glen. To the very last breath, you both lived up to the SEAL Code. You served all of us well. You were courageous in the face of certain death.

And Tyrone, even though you never got to hold your newborn son, he will grow up knowing the character and quality of his father, a man among men who sacrificed himself defending others.

God bless America!
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From: Chuck Roots

          Pastor, Ripon Free Methodist Church

To:     Craig Macho

          Editor, Ripon Record

Subj.: Roots in Ripon, 22 May 2013

 
Benghazi Redux
              

It has been just over eight months since the travesty in Benghazi. I remain sickened by what took place there, saddened for the devastation this event has brought on my country.

The unnecessary deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens, information management officer Sean Smith, and two former Navy SEALs, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, hang now over the American conscience with the unanswered question, “Why?”.

Immediately following the attack on the consulate in Benghazi, a friend who is related to one of the SEALs called me with information that was contradictory to what was coming from the White House and the media. Because my friend is an honest person, with permission, I wrote an article entitled, Courageous, for the October 3, 2012 edition of Roots in Ripon. My purpose in writing this particular article was to eulogize the brave former SEALs. It was first reported that they saved the lives of as many as 20 American personnel, but in the process they killed a bunch of the bad guys. The report I first received from my friend was that Glen and Ty managed to wipe out 60 of the attacking force.

Recently I was contacted by a gentleman who told me he had previously served with one of the SEALs. He had read my article and wanted to update my earlier information. Glen and Ty, through their actions and bravery, killed as many as 100 of the attackers, not the 60 I had first been told. And they affected the safe rescue of some 40 or more American personnel before they themselves were killed, not the 20 first reported.

Because the information I wrote about was not in the main stream media, I received numerous e-mails and phone calls asking me where I had obtained my information. Of course, I could not reveal my sources without compromising my friend and the job he holds. I heard from quite a few special operations folks who appreciated my writing about this story since the media was not willing to do so. One of the more interesting e-mails I received was from someone in the State Department who was irate that I would dare to write about something that I had no knowledge of, and took me to task over my article. My reaction was to trust the information I received from my friend. I told folks to watch the news and wait to see if the things I wrote about were not proven correct eventually. I just didn’t know it would take this long, nor did I see this becoming a major scandal.

What is so troubling to me is knowing that within our government we have contingency plans in place virtually everywhere in the world, yet they were not implemented for these men in Benghazi. Why? I don’t know. With all that is taking place with Congressional inquiries, and the main stream media seemingly coming awake, this story is not going away. Nor should it.

There are those who are saying the Benghazi debacle is much to do about nothing. Or as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “What difference does it make?”

I would like to answer Mrs. Clinton’s question. The difference it makes is that the four Americans died needlessly. Help was ready, willing, and able to come to the rescue. But that help was told to stand down. That decision has sent a chill through the soul of every single member of the military. Anyone who has signed on the dotted line to serve knows there are situations where you may not have help coming. Well, so be it. But this was not one of those instances.

Will our young people coming of age want to serve in our military if they have doubts as to whether their government has their back? I suspect they will. But our nation will rebound from this.

This is a painful chapter in our history, but the travesty of Benghazi does not define us as Americans. We yet remain the home of the free because of the brave.

At the end of the day terrorists are nothing more than thugs and are no match for our freedom-loving American military men and women.

God Bless America!
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From: Chuck Roots,

          Pastor and Navy Chaplain, Retired

To:     Craig Macho

          Editor, Ripon Record

Subj.: Roots in Ripon, 10 September 2014
 

Benghazi Update
 

This Thursday, September 11, will be two years since the attack on our embassy personnel in Benghazi, Libya.

During this time I have written two articles about this travesty. Initially I wrote about the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty because a friend of mine was related to one of the SEALs and shared information he had obtained from a military officer who spoke at one of the funeral services for the fallen. I was fascinated with the strange twist the whole affair had taken with the tragic results, results that brought then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, upon being questioned about this obvious screw-up during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing of January 23, 2013, to express with frustration, “What difference at this point does it make?”

Well, Mrs. Clinton, if I may say so, it makes a big difference to the Americans murdered at the hands of Islamic thugs. And it sure matters to their families. It has also cast a pall over our military who have realized that Americans in trouble and who called for help that was readily available were denied that help. That’s the difference it makes.

My first article, written for the October 3, 2012 publication of the Ripon Record, was entitled, “Courageous.” Over the next six to twelve months I received countless phone calls, emails and letters from folks wanting to know how I had obtained my information on Benghazi. I was not at liberty to divulge my sources without compromising folks I knew and trusted. Most folks were supportive of my article, but there were some who were, to put it bluntly, angry with me. One individual called me from the State Department, so they said, angrily calling into question my knowledge of what actually happened, insinuating that as a Navy chaplain what could I possibly know about such things. I replied, “Prove that the facts in my article are wrong.” They hung up.

I also heard from a number of special ops guys, thanking me for writing the article, which prompted my second article, “Benghazi Redux,” May 22, 2013. I received a call from someone claiming to be a flag officer (a general) who was in the Special Forces. It has made life exciting for a while, I can assure you!

This past weekend, Bret Baier of FOX News did a special report where he interviewed three men who were part of a security detail directly involved in the battle in Benghazi. They were with Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty throughout the thirteen hours they defended the embassy annex compound where the fight raged. It is based upon a book, “13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened In Benghazi,” written by Mitchell Zuckoff along with the Benghazi American Embassy Annex Security Team.

These men, two former Marines and one former Army Ranger, stated unequivocally in the interview with Bret Baier that when they were first alerted to the attack on the annex compound in Benghazi where Ambassador Stevens was in mortal danger, they grabbed their gear and were heading for their vehicles to attempt a rescue when they were ordered to wait, and then to “stand down.” They were confused by this order to stand down, but assumed they would be released shortly once info came in from two drones circling over the city. After 30 minutes had passed, and three refusals to allow them to initiate the rescue, they jumped in their vehicles anyway and drove the few minutes to the embassy compound. They described in detail the slugfest they found themselves in with Islamic terrorists which resulted in the deaths of Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty.

Toward the end of the hour-long TV special Bret Baier asked each of the men if they firmly believed that if they had been allowed to go to the rescue immediately, instead of enduring the frustrating thirty minute stand down order, if the Ambassador and the others would be alive. They said without hesitation, “Yes. Definitely.”

There is presently a Congressional Investigation into the Benghazi affair being chaired by U.S. House of Representatives Trey Gowdy. I believe Mr. Gowdy to be an upright man and a straight shooter. What he and his investigative committee will be able to conclude from the Benghazi mess only God knows.

But here’s what you need to know: The administration, specifically the White House and the State Department, continues to deny that any stand down order was ever given, and that available assistance was never refused. The three special agents who battled the Islamic terrorists in Benghazi say otherwise.

For my money, I trust the agents.
Next week I’ll share from a phone conversation I had with Charles Woods, a retired judge and the father of former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods.
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From: Chuck Roots,

          Pastor and Navy Chaplain, Retired

To:     Craig Macho

          Editor, Ripon Record

Subj.: Roots in Ripon, 17 September 2014
 

A Father’s Heart
 

Several months ago I was contacted by the father of Tyrone Woods, the former Navy SEAL who was killed in Benghazi along with former Navy SEAL Glen Doherty. I had a most delightful conversation with Charles Woods, a retired judge.

Mr. Woods called me to discuss the article, “Courageous,” I had written immediately following the Benghazi travesty which was published October 3, 2012. A friend, who is a family member of one of the four Americans killed that day by Islamic thugs, had provided me with the initial information which I then wove into the article, highlighting the bravery of Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.

Like many of you, I had seen Mr. Woods on FOX News being interviewed quite a number of times. From the FOX interviews it was clear to me that this man was a man who had his faith placed solidly in Jesus. During my first phone conversation with him back in the spring his strong faith in the Lord was abundantly evident. “You see,” he said, “Ty was not just a number – he was a real person.”

On the subject of forgiveness, Sean Hannity of FOX News asked Tyrone’s three teenaged half-sisters, Joy, Faith, and Hope, this question, “Can you forgive?” referring to forgiving the Islamists who killed their brother. One sister responded, “As a Christian we should act how Jesus would want us to act.” The question of forgiveness came up in my talk with Mr. Woods as well. He said to me, “I have forgiven those in (Benghazi) Libya, and in Washington D.C.” That’s quite a statement in light of the serious questions that remain as to the possible mishandling of the Benghazi affair from a host of players within our government.

Last weekend, Bret Baier from FOX News interviewed three of the surviving members from Benghazi, security team members, Kris (“Tanto”) Paronto (former Army Ranger), Mark (“Oz”) Geist, and John (“Tig”) Tiegen (both former Marines). They partnered with author Mitchell Zuckoff, producing a book that was released September 9, entitled, “13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi.” These men were ordered to “stand down” from aiding Ambassador Chris Stevens and the other three who all died in the ensuing battle. The order apparently was given by the top CIA officer in Benghazi.

I waited a couple of days after this news special, and then I called Mr. Woods to basically see how he was taking this information. I’m pleased to report that I came away from the conversation uplifted and blessed by him!

The following story is one which Mr. Woods shared with me during the phone conversation we had the other night. Because of what happened to his son, Tyrone, you might expect Mr. Woods to hate Muslims. This should give you a good idea of this man’s character and faith. Little wonder that his son became the man he did. In 1985 Mr. Woods felt he should go on a mission trip which found him in Northern Uganda, Africa. He and others from their team were hiking into some remote areas when they were accosted by a band of Muslims. Fear and intimidation are the tactics used by these guys, except that it didn’t seem to bother Mr. Woods. One of the Muslims, noticing the calm demeanor exhibited by Mr. Woods despite the threats, said to one of the other team members, “This one doesn’t seem to be afraid.” When Mr. Woods was then questioned by this Muslim man as to why he was not afraid, he replied, “If I were to kill you, I know you would not go to heaven. But if you killed me, I know I would go to heaven.”

Concerning the loss of his son, he said, “This is just a brief interruption before I see him again.” It is this strength of faith in Jesus that enables Mr. Woods to carry on. He demonstrates a father’s love and heart, just as God our Heavenly Father demonstrates toward us, offering us eternal life through his Son, Jesus.
 
          Tyrone is buried in a national cemetery in the San Diego area. But in Hawaii, on the Big Island, Mr. Woods told me that a Milo Tree was planted in Ty’s honor and memory in the West Hawaii Veterans Cemetery. I asked him why this tree. He said that it is commonly believed that this tree lives forever.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How could Doherty be fighting along side Woods at the embassy when he was in Tripoli? Doherty was part of the backup team that arrived at the CIA station early in the morning after the attack. He was killed along with woods in the attack on the CIA station, not at the embassy. Only Stevens and Smith were killed at the embassy. This is not disputed in any of the 8 investigations nor in the book.

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