The stunning part of this 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. Just think how much could have been accomplished if they had the support of their Commander-in-Chief.
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 is 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.
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 am 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 Nations 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 !
Dr. Charles R. Roots Senior Pastor Former Staff Sergeant, USMC Captain, U. S. Navy Chaplain Corps (Ret)
This should be passed on and on and on.
NO TRUE AMERICAN WOULD OBJECT TO RECEIVING THIS MORE THAN ONCE …SO PASS IT ON
THEY GAVE ALL THEY HAD TO GIVE…
I have been giving considerable thought to what principles, values, standards or rules of behavior guide Americans in civilian life. To be sure some professionals, such as medical doctors, must adhere to a code, for example, the Hippocratic oath. Most Americans would subscribe to the “Golden Rule.”
However, unless you are a member of the military, attending the University of Virginia, a medical doctor or a member of a religious order you, as a civilian, probably do not adhere to a code of conduct, honor or ethical code.
Throughout the ages, members of the warrior class have had a code of honor duty, loyalty and courage. Some times they would subscribe to such codes so that the rest of society would not corrupt them. Today, members of the United States Military fall under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the Geneva Conventions and adhere to the Military Code of Conduct. The six articles of the Code follow…
Military Code Of Conduct
The Code of Conduct is a six-article code that provides general guidelines for the daily conduct of all United States military personnel. It is especially applicable at times of war or imprisonment.
I am an American, fighting in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.
I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.
If I am captured, I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy.
If I become a prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow prisoners. I will give no information or take part in any action which might be harmful to my comrades. If I am senior, I will take command. If not, I will obey the lawful orders of those appointed over me, and will back them up in every way.
When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give only name, rank, service number, and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies or harmful to their cause.
I will never forget that I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.
Our next post will address how the 99% of Americans not in uniform might subscribe to a code and help close the gap between civilians and the military. There is such an organization whose mission it is to close the gap.
Our study of character continues with the interviews and stories of warriors with character recovering from traumatic combat injuries. While many among us consider these warriors as moral exemplars of our times and often thank them for their service, we still often fail to appreciate the virtues evident and the sacrifices made by these wounded warriors as they struggle to overcome traumatic injuries from the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars.
The Character Building Project aims to change this situation. It highlights how our wounded warriors develop virtues, and put them into practice, particularly the virtue of courage amidst adversity. By placing young military heroes front and center for all to see, The Character Building Project reminds us all, including young Americans who have not known service to our country, that cultivating the virtue of courage is important in our citizens and critical to the successful recovery of our war wounded.
The interviews of the warriors with courage, read like the book by Robert Fulghum entitled, All I Really Needed to Know… I Learned in Kindergarten. The warriors describe the development of good character habits early in their childhood and their rules for virtuous living sound like Fulghum’s advice: Play fair. Share. Don’t take things that aren’t yours. Put things back where you have found them. Clean up your own mess…
Wounded warriors and their families live the aphorism that crisis does not build character, but reveals it. By witnessing their heroic rehabilitation and comprehending the mental toughness of their supportive spouses and families along the protracted march to a successful recovery, we can all learn much about the virtue of courage.
“The die is cast” once a warrior is wounded. But the virtues that come to the surface have been there all the time, carefully cultivated over their young years. As we read the descriptions of the extent of their injuries, we are immediately in awe of their physical stamina and courage. However, we gain even greater insight from the virtues they have developed in the military as they are tested during their recovery: integrity, honor, respect, duty, loyalty, service and courage. These traits are worthy of emulation by all Americans.
It is a great privilege for me to witness the “family virtues” the warrior families exhibit during their loved one’s successful rehabilitation. First, one observes the unconditional love between and among family members as they rally around the wounded warrior. Second, the entire families exhibit integrity, loyalty, and duty to their warrior as all endure and meet the long rehabilitation challenges and finally reach a successful outcome. And finally, it is humbling to see the selfless loyalty of the wounded warriors themselves as they take responsibility not only for their own recoveries, but reach out to there fellow-wounded with encouragement and support.
It was Walter Lippman who said, “He has honor if he holds to an ideal of conduct though it is inconvenient, unprofitable or dangerous to do so.” At a time in our country when there is a diminished sense of morality and idealism, we can learn much from the honorable wounded warriors who are returning from war.
MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. – Thirteen executives from industries such as national security, telecommunications and an international beverage conglomerate, went through simulated ethics training here at TBS on Jan. 5. The participants came to The Basic School to learn how the Marine Corps teaches ethics in everything they do, using honor, courage, and commitment as the pillars to their foundation of decision making.
From time to time it is our honor to introduce readers of the Character Building Project to leaders of outstanding character. One such leader is Aloysius Boyle, a Captain in the United States Marine Corps. “Ish” is a combat veteran, currently, serving as the Company Commander of Wounded Warrior Battalion at Bethesda Naval Hospital. Captain Boyle has not only not forgotten his fallen buddies but also continues to serve our wounded warriors. He has generously supported my research for Courage in America: Warriors with Character. Here follows his Memorial Day tribute to the sacrifices of our fallen warriors. Continue reading
Unlike the amoral agenda set by Professor Mearsheimer at the University of Chicago (please see last post), the education offered to potential Army officers does indeed include building a moral foundation for one’s actions. In fact, the importance of developing a sound moral compass during West Point leadership training is reflected in their Cadet’s Prayer, a prayer in use there since 1924.
This summer Robin Roberts, the well regarded Washington politico and founder of the Washington Media Scholars Media Foundation http://mediascholars.org/ invited me to speak to the 2011 Scholars about good character in politics. These Scholars came from several excellent colleges and universities after having won media scholarships that included an all-expenses-paid week in Washington D.C. Continue reading
My wife Donna and I recently devoted a day at the awesome National Museum of the Marine Corps. Just as the soaring design evokes the flag raisers at Iwo Jima, my personal take away was best captured by Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz’s remark posted on the ceiling of the main hall about the battle of Iwo Jima: “Uncommon valor was a common virtue.” The galleries and exhibits of the museum depict more than the legendary history of the Marine Corps. The museum provides and in depth view of the Corps history of inculcating in individual Marines, the qualities of honor, courage, and commitment in overcoming the fear of death, pain, or disgrace. Continue reading
Yesterday I had the honor and privilege to meet Todd and Crystal Nicely, two Marines, both American heroes. The Nicelys will “anchor” my book Courage in America. In the weeks ahead, I hope to identify nine other “characters with character” to join them in a cast of heroes. Your help in identifying other heroes from our military that might approach the caliber of Todd and Crystal is very much invited. As you will see from visiting Todd’s Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Todd-Nicely-Wounded-Warrior-Benefit/109240662434558), the Nicelys set a very high bar. Continue reading