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…
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.
The Character Building Project readers have responded to our June 28th post by suggesting many more questions for consideration in our study of Courage in America. At this stage of our research, our inquiry has to do with how young Americans in the military learn about courage, character, sacrifice, and sadly, death. Later we will probe how the example of ten virtuous leaders might pass on these lessons to their civilian contemporaries. Here are the questions suggested by those readers interested in our continuing study of character. Continue reading
Before the Character Building Project claims an honor code should be required for candidates and possibly Members of Congress, let’s look deeper into the code of honor at the University of Virginia. As we see by the excerpts below from the official UVA site, the code began as a pledge, evolved into a code of conduct outside the classroom and has become a system of enforcement. Totally student run, without “adult supervision,” the system has, as our three UVA law school graduates tell me, worked well. Continue reading
Many posts on the Character Building Project (CBP) focus upon ways one can correct actions in order to be better (or, if not better, at least not as bad). Our strategy is to first identify what is wrong, and then point the reader toward a better way, our shared positive moral Judeo-Christian culture. Continue reading
Today, I shared with several friends and interesting piece by Frank Lutz’s 11 Words for 2011. I read Frank’s article in the Huffington Post* of all places. My pal, Eric Rubenstein quickly turned Frank’s counsel into a most compelling speech: Continue reading
Bob Hall, a Marine and member of our character community http://www.characters-with-character.com/blog/2011/1/25/semper-fi-bob-hall.html is helping build character in America in many ways. Today’s contribution is with a poem to his granddaughter that I’ve included at the end of his essay, which follows. Bob’s granddaughter is now ten. Bob may not with her through her teen years, as Bob has IPF. I know the poem will also be useful to others who wish to influence a child’s future. When appropriate, I intend to share it with my six granddaughters. Continue reading
The October 1 post said we’d get around to the topic of leadership. Well, we’ve arrived! Our starting point? Actually, it’s a bit different from what I’d envisioned then. What’s changed in the meantime? To answer that fully requires going back a couple of years.
The occasion was a big NOAA stakeholders meeting. NOAA leadership had invited maybe a couple of hundred folks for a full day of discussion. They gave us several bursts of information in plenary, but our time together included a couple of breakout sessions. At one of these, I found myself sitting at the same table as a fellow by the name of Michael Kerrigan. Mike is the founder and principal of Kerrigan & Associates, which he describes in his own words as a “management consulting and advocacy firm focused on creating business opportunities in the private-public sector.” Continue reading
Tom has always lived by the advice his mother Marie gave him…“Always work as hard as you can, pray as hard as you can, and leave the rest up to God.”
Tom’s honesty-no-matter-what policy distills from his selflessness? Tom’s parents taught him how to put himself last, after duty and the needs of others. Tom mastered the lesson well; much of Tom’s success is based on his life-long adherence to this family code. At the Naval Academy he added another one, a code of integrity: Midshipmen stand for what is right; they tell the truth because whatever advantage they could gain from lying would ultimately take away from the mission. Lying is selfish, and Tom will have none of it. Cheating and stealing are selfish and are not tolerated in the Naval Academy. These codes of honor and integrity were inherent to Tom’s person and planted the seeds for his success. Continue reading