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Secret Soldiers of 13 Hours Share Their Faith in Benghazi Fight
Secret Soldiers of 13 Hours Share Their Faith in Benghazi Fight

Secret Soldiers of 13 Hours Share Their Faith in Benghazi Fight

By Jacob Sahms

On September 11, 2012, Islamic extremists attacked two U.S. compounds in Benghazi, Libya, including the American diplomatic community. Military veterans, employed as CIA security contractors, responded to the cries for help from those civilians under fire, taking on a desperate mission to defend the American Ambassador and his staff. In 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, Michael Bay shares their story in cinematic fashion on Friday. Just hours before the debut, Christian Cinema caught up with two of those soldiers, Mark “Oz” Guest and John “Tig” Tiegen, to discuss their experience and how faith helped them survive.

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Guest shared that his parents had raised him in a United Methodist Church in Colorado; in fact, he sang in the youth choir. “My parents really laid down the foundation of faith in my life,” he admitted. “Looking back as a father, I see the importance of laying the foundation. Whichever way you may go in your life, if the foundation is there, you can see God’s presence.”

Both Guest and Tiegen are men of faith, who also served in the military prior to their stint as contractors. Their faith bled through the conversation, as they shared what it looked like to be in the fight, to write a book about it, and to now see the film on screen.

Tiegen said he was hoping that it would be a “gut check” for the audience. “I think they’ll be able to see what we went through,” he shared. “And realize the triumph of it, because of the things we had to overcome.”

The two men admitted that their opponents had more knowledge of the area and greater numbers, but Guest pointed out that they had over one hundred years of experience in their group of six. “We also had confidence in each other, and faith in God,” he said. “And we had better equipment.”

The process still impacts the two men, four years later. Guest shared that he is still recovering from injuries he received that night, and highlighted the Shadow Warriors Project as an outreach that has begun because of his loss. “The paychecks stop as soon as you leave, but you still have to take care of the after effects,” Guest pointed out. “Our goal is to help contractors who worked in the shadows protecting our freedoms, but who can’t receive help from the VA Hospital. We need a voice.”

Guest was in the hospital for three weeks after the battle at Benghazi; Tiegen inhaled smoke in the firefight that was filled with hazardous materials, but it took three years until he could see the right specialist.

Tiegen shared, “We want people to see the the truth from our perspective. The book was actually tougher to write because we hadn’t shared the story with many people yet, but now we’ve had some opportunity during tours. It’s awesome that we have a chance to share our story.”

Hearing their story, and seeing the depiction on screen, it’s hard not to see a correlation between these men and David as he faced Goliath. He’s outnumbered, outsized, etc. but he has the better equipment and God is on his side.

So, did the faith of these men make a difference when they were outnumbered and under heavy fire in a hostile land? “Absolutely,” Guest replied. “Jesus Christ died for my sins, and that gives me hope, no matter what I’m facing.”

Now, they hope audiences will see the film and help them keep the memories alive of those who fell while defending the United States in the shadows. These men spent 13 Hours in the fight of their life, but once the film comes out, they will be secret soldiers no more.


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