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Kris ‘Tanto’ Paronto

Tanto lived a life of adrenaline, serving in military and contracting for the CIA, until he and his team were abandoned in Benghazi - when he discovered God had his back. Read Transcript

My name's Kris Paronto.

Call sign was Tanto.

A lot of people know me by that now.

I was in the US Army.

I was with the 2nd Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment.

As a kid growing up, of course, God was a part of my life,

so was the church.

But I was a kid.

I didn't want to be at church.

I wanted to be outside playing, and I

wanted to be out running around on Sundays and not in church.



Well, guys that do that, we're adrenaline junkies.

We like it.

We like that feeling of always being up here,

that sixth sense.

It makes the world so much more beautiful

when your adrenaline's always up here.

Doing these deployments and going overseas and getting

in these firefights or just normal operations, crisis

situations, and realize that there is life-death situations.

Get to Benghazi, a lot more dangerous.

We were contracted directly for the CIA

because the consulate had been attacked twice prior.

It had been attacked with IEDs--

improvised explosive devices-- on the exterior walls.

What they were doing is they were

seeing if there would be a response,

and when we were told to not help on those attacks, that

just emboldened them.

Hey, well, look at this.

We've blown up the consulate twice.

No response.

Ambassadors coming in.

How do they know the ambassadors are coming in?

The attack that night, it was a planned attack.

That morning before, they were doing reconnaissance,

taking pictures of the facility, taking

pictures of the front gate.

Being 3/4 mile away, when the firing starts,

it's like being downstairs.

You're going to be able to hear it,

and you'll be able to see it.

Ansar al-Sharia and Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb

had so much firepower, they could have initially

just come in and just destroyed everything.

Five minutes in, we were told to wait.

10 minutes in, that's when we were told to stand down

by our chief of base.

Imagine it's your friend or your family member,

someone that you swore that you would always go help,

and they're on the radio.

GRS, where are you?

GRS, you swore you'd get here.

GRS, we are under heavy fire.

GRS, the consulate's been overrun.

We need you here now.

This stress that we're going through going,

gah, we got to get over there.

When we heard on the radio from Alec Henderson,

and he said, if you don't get here, we're all going to die,

you just-- everybody-- the switch

is like, to hell with this.

We're going.

You could just-- everybody's eyes, you could just see.


We're done listening.

Get in the car.

Let's go.

And that was it.

They're come at us with small arms and RPGs,

and we could fight that all night until we ran out of ammo.

But they were going to figure it out, come out with something

bigger like a technical, which is

a truck with a heavy machine gun in the back,

or mortars or rockets or something.

At the consulate, we got attacked the second time,

and I remember bullets flying.

And when bullets go by you, they snap.

They crack because it's a high velocity round,

and it goes by your head.

And it snaps, breaks the sound barrier.

Started off with, I don't think we're

going to get any help up here.

Nah, Specter's not coming.

Air support's not coming.

Nobody's coming.

When you do feel let down, you got to have faith in God,

and you got to you got to have faith in the Lord.

And if I die in this battlefield today,

may I die at peace with You.

I remember I just took a knee, and I start shooting back.

And I was out in the open, no cover.

I feel safe when bullets start flying, and I say,

as long as I'm doing the right thing,

God will take care of me.

And I knew God had me.

You know.

You feel it, and you feel that--

it does.

It feels like a cocoon, a warm bubble that surrounds you,

and you're safe.

You're good.

Nothing's going to touch you.

I've felt it where He's not been there.

Doesn't matter, you just keep going.

It's not that He's not there, and He's not always watching.

It's just sometimes you feel like there's

that extra protection, and it's not my time to die right now.

And that's how I felt.


That's when I really felt like God came into my life.

My faith is 100 times stronger, and He's still there with us.

He's always taking care of us.


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