Benghazi survivor to be honored at Carolina Country Music Fest

Grand Strand

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW)- For the first year, Carolina Country Music Fest is partnering with Special Operations Wounded Warriors. On Saturday night during CCMF, a Benghazi survivor will be honored.

Mike Geist was a private security contractor hired to protect case officers with the CIA. That job lead him to Benghazi in September 2012.

On September 11th, 2012, he was about a mile from the consulate where members of the Ansar Al-Sharia attacked, killing U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and Sean Smith.

“After being told to stand down a few times, it came over the radio that said if you don’t get over here now we’re going to die, and that was his security team. The only way anything was going to happen to save their lives was if we went over and did it,” said Geist.

Geist was hit with shrapnel more than 20 times during mortar attacks that killed two other CIA contractors.

“I got hit in the neck four or five times, the stomach,  up and down both arms and legs,” said Geist.

Geist wrote a book with the other survivors and it was turned into the film “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.”

Geist said his story isn’t about politics, it’s just one that needs to be told.

“It was about what happened there, what we go through as a special interest, and people that no one would really ever hear about because most of what we do is classified or not going to be told,” said Geist.

Because he worked for a private contractor, his pay stopped after he left Libya, which prompted him to start the Shadow Warriors Project. 

The group takes care of the first three months of bills for the families of private security contractors killed or injured overseas. His organization works with Special Operations Wounded Warriors in Myrtle Beach. The group takes veterans on outdoor experiences and helps them adjust to civilian life.

“When they get out, or when they get hurt they go from 100 to 0 and it’s very difficult for them to adjust to that rapid change of pace in their lives,” said Vice President of SOWW, Joel Pellicci.

“It gives people a purpose again to do something that is bigger than themselves and be a part of something that is bigger than what you are,” said Geist.

For information on Special Operations Wounded Warriors click here.

For information on Shadow Warriors Project click here.

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