The Marine In Delta Force During Benghazi

BY Herschel Smith
9 months ago

I was watching “13 Hours” again a few nights ago, and recalled when Delta showed up at the airport in Tripoli, and when asked where Delta was, one of them said, “We’re it, brother.”  There were two of them.

Now, I won’t rehearse the air power assets that could have been brought to bear from Sigonella, the lies that surrounded the event from the administration, the pre-planned execution of the attack (which involved combined arms, known coordinates, fighter assets in position, etc.).  Nor will I rehearse what my own readers pointed out about these things, nor the fact that General Ham went quietly into the night without saying so much as a word (probably because of an NDA).

But I will observe something I didn’t know about Delta that night at the airport (and their actions in Benghazi).  First, they were there for document destruction, and they did that to the best of their abilities.  But they also assisted the fighting, and did so heroically as did the other men in that engagement.

But did you know this?  One of the Delta operators was a Marine.

Jolly, who declined a request for an interview, would ultimately be awarded the Navy Cross for his heroism there. The soldier with him, Master Sgt. David Halbruner, received the Army’s Distinguished Service Cross. The valor awards are exceeded only by the Medal of Honor.

Little has been known about the Jolly’s actions in Benghazi. There was no public ceremony when he received his valor award and, until recently, his name has not been publicly tied to the mission in media reports.

His hometown paper in North Carolina, the Wilkes Journal-Patriot, recently reported that the 36-year-old who’d graduated from high school about 90 miles north of Charlotte was the Marine who’d gone above and beyond to save other Americans. Jolly recently retired as a master sergeant.

According to testimony, public documents and the person familiar with his actions, Jolly was calm in the face of deadly chaos. He and Halbruner are credited with saving numerous lives that day.

With a rifle strapped to his back amid an onslaught of mortars and machine-gun fire, Jolly tended to the wounded, at one point throwing a man onto his back and shuffling him down a ladder amid a barrage of enemy fire. He helped some get back into the fight and provided vital care to others with life-threatening injuries.

Here’s how then-Gunnery Sgt. Jolly helped get other Americans to safety during a situation that caused a years-long political firestorm thousands of miles away in Washington, DC.

Jolly, an infantry assault Marine, was assigned to a Delta Force detachment in Libya at the time of the Benghazi attack. It’s rare, though not unheard of, for Marines to join the elite Army special-operations teams.

The Marine had deployed to Iraq twice before joining the secretive counterterrorism force, spending about five years carrying out clandestine missions before the Benghazi attack and another five after, according to information about his career obtained by Military.com.

He racked up more than a dozen total deployments with Delta Force.

The Navy Cross Jolly received for his actions in Benghazi was his fourth valor award. He has two Bronze Stars with combat “V” devices – one of which he earned for undisclosed reasons during his time with Delta Force, and a second from a 2004-2005 deployment to Ramadi, Iraq.

Jolly also earned a Navy Commendation Medal with combat distinguishing device and a Purple Heart for injuries sustained during that deployment.

On the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Jolly was about 600 miles away from Benghazi in Tripoli – roughly the same distance between Chicago and Washington, DC. Since Jolly and Halbruner were some of the only troops in-country, the operation was coordinated not by US Africa Command, but the CIA.

Team Tripoli, made up of Jolly, Halbruner and five others, arrived in Benghazi at about 1:30 a.m. That was about four hours after the attack began and two since Ambassador Christopher J. Stevens had last been seen alive.

The team was led by Glen Doherty, a Global Response Staff (GRS) security officer and former Navy SEAL, who was later killed. He was Team Tripoli’s medic.

The plan, according to the person familiar with the mission, was to leave the airport and head to the hospital, where they believed Stevens was being treated. When they found out Stevens had died, the first ambassador to be killed in the line of duty since 1979, the team headed to the consulate to bolster the diplomatic security personnel and GRS, a group of private military contractors who were fending off the attackers.

“It could’ve gone really, really bad,” said the source familiar with the mission. “It could’ve become 30 American hostages in North Africa. There were seven shooters going in to protect people who don’t shoot for a living.”

By the time they arrived, Sean Smith, a State Department foreign service officer, had also died. It was still dark, just after 5 a.m., according to a congressional timeline of the attack. Within minutes, the first mortar hit.

The attacks continued, with one witness estimating there were as many as 100 insurgents spotted surrounding their location in 20- or 30-man groups. It was a skilled enemy, one of the troops there later told members of Congress.

“It’s not easy … to shoot inside the city and get something on the target within two shots – that’s difficult,” the witness testified. “I would say they were definitely a trained mortar team or had been trained to do something similar to that.”

“I was kind of surprised,” the service member added. “… It was unusual.”

They were there a matter of hours, but at times witnesses said the team feared they wouldn’t make it out alive. It began to “rain down on us,” one of them told lawmakers.

”I really believe that this attack was planned,” the witness said. “The accuracy with which the mortars hit us was too good for any regular revolutionaries.”

In total, six 81-millimeter mortars assaulted the annex within a minute and 13 seconds, a congressional report on the attack states. Doherty and Tyrone Woods, another former SEAL with the GRS, didn’t survive.

[ … ]

Jolly and Halbruner were determined to save them. Amid the fight, they were tying tourniquets to the men’s bodies.

Ubben is alive because Jolly helped move him from the rooftop to a building where diplomatic personnel were hunkered down. Gregory Hicks, who became the acting chief of mission after Stevens died, later described how the gunny did it during a congressional hearing.

“One guy … full of combat gear climbed up [to the roof], strapped David Ubben, who is a large man, to his back and carried him down the ladder, saved him,” Hicks said.

Jolly and Halbruner also went back out to the rooftop to recover the bodies of the fallen.

“They didn’t know whether any more mortars were going to come in. The accuracy was terribly precise,” Hicks said. “… They climbed up on the roof, and they carried Glen’s body and Tyrone’s body down.”

It was for Jolly’s “valorous actions, dedication to duty and willingness to place himself in harm’s way” to save numerous unarmed Americans’ lives that he earned the Navy Cross, according to his citation.

I’m not so sure about that last part.  In the movie there’s a lot made of the fact that the “D boys” threw the bodies off the roof because there wasn’t time to do it any other way and the enemy was still shooting.

Anyway, We Are The Mighty has coverage as well, as does Wilkes Journal-Patriot and Military.com.

In addition to Tate Jolly, David Halbruner was there for Delta.  I can’t find any information on him.

I feel that there’s a whole lot of information I still don’t know about this engagement, and it would be good one day to interview participants in the event, as well as construct a detailed time line of everything that happened.

One thing is for sure.  We’ll never hear the full truth from FedGov.


Comments

  1. On September 28, 2021 at 10:49 pm, Georgiaboy61 said:

    Re:”I feel that there’s a whole lot of information I still don’t know about this engagement, and it would be good one day to interview participants in the event, as well as construct a detailed time line of everything that happened.”

    The actions of brave and steadfast warriors like (then) U.S. Marine Gunnery Sergeant Tate Jolly and U.S. Army SOF-Delta Master Sgt. David Halbruner, should be told and remembered by all Americans. It is especially important in a corrupt and degraded age such as this one that ordinary Americans be reminded of who they are and what amazing feats they can accomplish when the chips are down.
    And that the greatness of this nation lies not in its government, but with its people.

    “One thing is for sure. We’ll never hear the full truth from FedGov.”

    I have read the book by Mitchell Zuckoff, “13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi” and seen the 2016 movie based upon it, “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi,” directed by Michael Bay.

    The book was published by a big-name publishing house, and got positive coverage in all of the usual places by the usual suspects. The author’s work is apparently well-documented and annotated. Everything appears to be legitimate and above-board.

    Likewise, the film was well-budgeted, had excellent production values and a big-name cast. It was promoted heavily, and ran across the nation in most of the big-name movie houses and chains, to largely positive reviews.

    Both are well-done and tell the “real” story of what happened, at least insofar as most readers/viewers were concerned. But more-critical and discerning readers and viewers, however, were left wanting more.

    Both the book and the film scrupulously avoid asking any of the difficult questions which arose in the aftermath of the incident. In particular, any questions or lines of inquiry which would tend to reflect poorly on the Obama regime then in power or its principals, such as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

    The closest either gets to outright criticism of the senior political/military leadership is probably a series of scenes in the film, meant to be at the height of the crisis, when the embassy staff & diplomatic personnel are frantically trying to raise the alarm and get some sort of help deployed to their rescue.

    These scenes convey the fear and near-panic of those beleaguered people, but at no time are any of those ultimately responsible for the lack of action ever mentioned, namely the President, National Security Advisor and the Secretary of State and other cabinet members and White House staff surrounding them.

    Neither the book nor the film even hints at the real secret which still lies, largely unexamined, at the heart of the Benghazi debacle: The reason national command authority would not green-light a rescue is that Obama, Clinton, et al. were afraid that attention would be drawn to the real significance of their activities in Benghazi, Libya, namely that the CIA was smuggling weapons pilfered from the late President Colonel Muamarr Gaddafi’s arms warehouses to Sunni jihadist groups fighting in Syria.

    In other words, that the President and his staff and various agencies of the federal government were – in violation of international law – engaged in the trafficking of arms internationally. They were also aiding and abetting a coup de etat against a duly-elected foreign leader.

    Rather than risk exposure and unfavorable attention, the President and his staff sacrificed four human beings to the tender mercies of the jihadists attacking the compound that night. They were/are guilty of murder, no less than the Libyans firing the weapons that actually killed those people.

  2. On September 28, 2021 at 11:11 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    @Georgiaboy61,

    But there’s even more. As my readers pointed out within 24 hours of the event, this was a well-planned, well-executed attack with prior knowledge of the work space and pre-planning of the force on force dynamics. It used combined arms in a way that doesn’t happen by accident.

    Then … if it was pre-planned, then who planned it? The admin at the time really didn’t want the machinations of its gov to become common knowledge (which were agreed upon by not just Obama, but then Senator McCain as well, among others), i.e., Stephens was there for nefarious purposes.

    Stephens was sacrificed, I’m claiming. The event had to go down, and it really didn’t matter who perished in it.

    BTW, Obama was away on a campaign fund raiser and didn’t bat an eyelid.

    He likely knew what was happening, and was likely involved (or had his people involved).

  3. On September 28, 2021 at 11:32 pm, Jimmy the Saint said:

    “We’ll never hear the full truth from FedGov.”

    Sure we will. It will just keep changing. But each time it will be “the full truth”. That’s one of the big perks of being the government.

  4. On September 29, 2021 at 2:40 am, Georgiaboy61 said:

    @ Herschel

    Re:”But there’s even more. As my readers pointed out within 24 hours of the event, this was a well-planned, well-executed attack with prior knowledge of the work space and pre-planning of the force on force dynamics. It used combined arms in a way that doesn’t happen by accident.”

    That tracks…. someone within the regime, with Obama’s tacit if not overt approval, gave those besieged Americans up to the enemy. Obama’s pro-Muslim sympathies were even then well-known, and it is not hard at all to imagine him green-lighting this. Don’t even get me started about that ridiculously contrived cover story the regime concocted, that the jihadists of Ansar al-Sharia were “provoked” into attacking the compound by an obscure film about Islam made in the U.S.

    Just as I believe that B.Hussein and company gave up Extortion 17, the call-sign of a Chinook helicopter shot-down by Afghan mujaheddin on August 6, 2011, which contained fifteen members of SEAL Team Six and other military personnel. All thirty-eight people aboard perished. Tit-for-tat for the Bin Laden raid….

  5. On September 29, 2021 at 4:40 pm, Bradlley A Graham said:

    There is a You tube channel called “The Team House ” hosted by 2 former Army Rangers.
    They interviewed Kris Paronto about 2 months ago concerning the Benghazi debacle.

    It is a must see.

  6. On September 29, 2021 at 7:49 pm, Randolph Scott said:

    KTA

  7. On September 30, 2021 at 10:49 am, william britt said:

    and Hillary is still drawing air.

  8. On October 2, 2021 at 1:48 am, Grandpa said:

    brother, way back when we discussed this, I did add that there were air assets closer than Sigonella. There is always a carrier in the Med. Perhaps no longer, but in the time of this attack, there sure as heck was. I pray that before the Lord calls me home, I can see someone slap Hillary in the face, and tell her “it matters, and it always will; when Americans are killed”.
    I know… too much to hope for

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This article is filed under the category(s) CIA,Department of Defense and was published September 28th, 2021 by Herschel Smith.

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