Benghazi survivor ‘Oz’ looks back 10 years later, says US has not learned from mistakes

September 11 will always be remembered as a day of tragedy for America when nearly 3,000 lives were brutally taken one morning in an act of pure evil. The consequences of that attack have rippled out with more deaths resulting from injuries incurred in the days and weeks that followed, and eleven years later, four more brave Americans would die.

(Video: Fox News)

U.S. Marine Corps veteran Mark “Oz” Geist was among the Americans fighting for their lives again when left to fend for themselves in the ongoing war against Islamic extremism. He was on the rooftop of the CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11, 2012 as part of the 13 hour standoff against Islamic militants from Ansar al-Sharia following their attack the United States consulate and, to mark the 10 year anniversary, he spoke with Fox News Digital.

Geist recounted in detail the outmatched firefight between the security team led by U.S. Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods who would go on to lose his life that night alongside U.S. Navy SEAL Glen Doherty, U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and U.S. Foreign Service Officer and U.S. Air Force veteran Sean Smith.

“We’re talking about our kids,” Geist explained of him and Woods after the Americans had been extracted from the consulate to the annex, “and the next thing you know you’re getting attacked again. Almost simultaneously, about three or four minutes later, a rocket hit the back wall right in front of us and a mortar had hit the top of the wall and they opened up with belt-fed machine guns and AK-47s.”

Despite later claims from officials that there was “no assistance anywhere that could have got there in time,” Doherty had commandeered a plane in Tripoli and arrived with his quick reaction force team to provide aid to the Americans under attack. As Geist described, mortar fire from the extremists killed Doherty and Woods as the fighting raged on.

“It was the right six there,” the survivor insisted of the relentless defense of the annex that lasted through the night where he had lost control of his left hand after an injury left his arm “dangling at a 90-degree angle between his wrist and elbow.” “We were all the right guys that should have been there.”

“If they would have kept firing mortars, they would have killed me,” Geist expressed, but the fighting that lasted until dawn ended as the sun seemingly scared off the attackers. “I look back on it and I call it the seventh man on our team.”

Eight congressional committees investigated the events that led to the attack that left Americans without aid for more than half a day that included the infamous testimony of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who exclaimed of the identity of the attackers, “What difference at this point does it make?”

Geist, who has called out Clinton in the past for her culpability in the deaths suffered at Benghazi and the lack of response, decried her and other leaders from the time for “lacking the intestinal fortitude” to take responsibility.

“You can get a lot of places in 13 hours,” he explained to Fox News Digital. “To say that was kind of heart-wrenching for us because we knew better.”

“People are making decisions and not listening to the guys and gals on the ground. And that’s what they should be doing. You can’t fight a war from Washington, D.C,” Geist argued.

Since Benghazi, the retired Marine has ceased contracting and founded the nonprofit organization Shadow Warriors Project to help fellow wounded contractors. “It has been cathartic and very helpful, being able to share and be a part of something bigger than yourself,” he expressed.

“Glen, Tyrone, Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith, put their hand up in the air and swore to uphold the Constitution,” Geist reminded of their dedicated service. “They chose to go into harm’s way. We have a lot of Americans around the world that are doing that, and we need to remember them as well.”


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Kevin Haggerty


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