"Secret soldiers" who defended a CIA outpost in Benghazi, Libya, when jihadists attacked on Sept. 11, 2012, recently said at press events they know God protected them from overwhelming odds during the assault. The just-released movie "13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi" is based on the true story of six CIA contractors who risked their lives defending diplomatic people inside the U.S. State Department's Mission Control Compound during the violent hit.
Three of the contractors were former armed service members: Mark "Oz" Geist, John "Tig" Tiegen and Kris "Tanto" Paranto. They said the story is undeniably miraculous.
Geist is one of six men who defied orders to stand-down, and rushed to defend those under attack in Benghazi. He told CBN this week that faith always has been a significant part of his life.
The former military officers shared their courageous story in the book 13 Hours, a best-selling piece by Mitchell Zuckoff, which is an inside account of what really unfolded within those 13 unforgettable hours in Libya. American filmmaker Michael Bay produced the new movie version of the account.
"That night when I was shooting, the scene where we got attacked at the consulate. I was out in the open. I'm shooting back, and they're 'snap snap' going. Ain't nothing touching me. I could feel it," Tanto said in the Christian Post. "You could just feel a warm force-field. It's really a cocoon around you, like 'I'm good. Nobody's going to hit me.'"
The defense of the compound was never intended to be a part of the contractors' job, and the attack resulted in the deaths of two of the contractors, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.
Both Geist and Tanto were injured, and Tanto has said they believe God had them all there for a reason.
"We were all supposed to go home the week prior," Tanto said. "But, [then we] wouldn't have had that team there that we had that night."
Geist said he believes God protected them that night, and that God is the reason they made it out to share the story with others.
"There were three 80 mm mortars, and they have a kill radius of 21 feet. So that basically means, anything within 21 feet has like a 99 percent chance of getting killed," he said. "I was within 15 feet of three of them, and I lived. I know that His presence was there with me, and it's what got me through."
The soldiers' faith is incorporated into the movie when Pablo Schriebe, the actor who plays Tanto, says he has faith that God will protect him during the attack.
Tanto said he was grateful the mention of faith made it into the movie. "God is not a PC subject nowadays. With Michael [Bay] getting portions of that in the movie where Pablo is saying: 'As long as I'm going right with God, He'll take care of me.' I said that," he said. "Him [Bay] putting it into a movie this size, even that little bit that makes me really happy. I've had so many people come to me and say, 'Thank you for putting God in the movie.' Even that little bit, even that one word."
"We had so many times we could have quit, and because of our faith in God and our faith in each other, we didn't," Tanto said, who said he hopes whoever reads the book or sees the movie is inspired to know God will help you overcome any obstacle
"Have faith that you're in a situation that whether it's good or bad, you're there for a reason and keep your faith in Him," he said.
The movie also stars John Krasinski and Toby Stephens.