United States Diplomatic Compound and CIA Annex in Benghazi, Libya
On September 11, 2012, two separate U.S. government facilities in Benghazi, Libya were attacked by Islamic terrorists. At approximately 9:45 PM, an attack began on the U.S. Diplomatic Compound which housed U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens. Within minutes, urgent requests for help were radioed to the CIA Annex located a mile away. During the attack Ambassador Stevens and Information Officer Sean Smith took refuge in a “Safe Room”. When the terrorists’ repeated attempts to enter the safe room failed, they set fire to the residence. Despite heroic efforts by Department of State Security (DSS) Agent Scott Wickland, he was unable to get both Stevens and Smith to safety. As a result, both perished.
A team of six highly trained CIA Annex security team members were assembled to respond to the calls for help from the Compound. The team was delayed for nearly half an hour when advised repeatedly by the Annex Station Chief to, “Stand Down”. Knowing those at the Compound faced imminent danger, the Annex Security Team made the decision to respond to their calls for help. Among the team was U.S. Navy SEAL (Ret.) Tyrone Woods. A fierce battle was underway as they arrived, Woods and another team member searched the burning residence for Ambassador Stevens and Information Officer Sean Smith. Smith’s lifeless body was recovered; but they were unable to locate Ambassador Stevens. Together, the Annex Security Team and the DSS Agents, repelled the militants and returned to the Annex where a new wave of attacks began at approximately 12:00 AM (September 12). Intermittent fighting continued throughout the night. Without incoming support, the six Annex Security Team members stationed themselves on the rooftops where they battled against the attacks. At approximately 5:00 AM the CIA Global Response Staff from Tripoli arrived. U.S. Navy SEAL (Ret.) Glen Doherty was with them. Doherty, a longtime friend of Woods, joined Woods on the rooftop of Building C. At 5:11 AM, the rooftop was hit with a succession of five mortars within 90 seconds. Both Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed, and two other Americans were severely wounded. By 6:00 AM the attack was over. Shortly after, a Libyan convoy of 50 heavily-armed vehicles arrived to evacuate the survivors.
Over 30 Annex personnel were saved. The price paid was four American Heroes.
This monument stands in remembrance of these brave men. To date, this is the only monument in the United States resting on private land that “Honors the Four”.
U.S. Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens
U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer, Sean Smith
U.S. Navy SEAL (Ret.), CIA Operative, Tyrone Snowden Woods
U.S. Navy SEAL (Ret.), CIA Operative, Glen Anthony Doherty