Tyrone Woods, 41, was one of four Americans killed in Benghazi, Libya, when terrorists attacked the U.S. consulate and nearby mission annex more than a year and a half ago. His father, Charles Woods, wants to know why there was no attempt at a rescue as the attack raged on and off for nearly seven hours.
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"One of the major questions is why was no attempt made to rescue," Charles Woods said Monday in his first interview with Hawaii media. "There was no attempt made and I'd like to know why that actually happened?"
Tyrone Woods spent some of his teenage years in the sleepy tourist town of Kailua-Kona on the Big Island after moving from Oregon City, Oregon. He bagged groceries at the local KTA Super Store and with the help of his dad developed a love for surfing.
"In fact this spot right here, Hanos beach, is where he learned how to boogie board, how to surf," the elder Woods told KITV4. "That was one of his many passions in life; he was very passionate about living life to the extreme."
Charles Woods, 66, believes the tight-knit communities in Kailua-Kona and Oregon City are where his son developed a strong sense of responsibility and patriotism. Woods joined the military straight out of high school and had one goal in mind -- to become a U.S. Navy SEAL.
"He was the pinnacle of SEALs that other SEALs wanted to become, in fact he trained SEALs," said his father.
On the evening of Sept. 11, 2012, Tyrone Woods was thrust into the crossroads of history while providing security to U.S. diplomats in Libya. Tyrone Woods was no longer a Navy SEAL, but an independent contractor working for the Central Intelligence Agency.
At about 9:40 p.m. in Libya chaos erupted at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi as dozens of men began attacking with small arms, grenades and mortars. Nearly two and a half hours later the nearby mission annex would also come under attack.
Twice Tyrone Woods asked to join the fight, and twice superiors in Washington said no. Tyrone Woods' father said his son decided to act on his own.
"He disobeyed orders (and) he went," said Charles Woods. "He rescued about 30 people at the compound there. Unfortunately, Chris Stevens, the ambassador, was already dead."
Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, former U.S. Navy SEAL Glen Doherty, Sean Smith and Tyrone Woods were among four Americans killed in the attack that has since spiraled into political controversy. Stevens and Smith died from smoke inhalation at the consulate, while Doherty and Tyrone Woods were killed by a mortar attack on the annex.
In the days following the attack, the White House linked the onslaught in Benghazi to an anti-Muslim video. Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice repeated the assertion on Sunday talk shows five days after the four Americans were killed.
"It was a spontaneous -- not a premeditated -- response to what had transpired in Cairo," Rice told Jake Tapper of ABC's "This Week" on Sept. 16. "In Cairo, as you know, a few hours earlier there was a violent protest that was undertaken in reaction to this very offensive video that was disseminated."
On April 29 the White House was forced to release an email conservatives claim listed talking points that the administration wanted to use to mask any failure in U.S. policy in Libya. Tyrone Woods' father calls it a smoking gun.
"They basically gave instructions, 'Focus on the video; underscore the video and don't underscore the broader failure of policy,'" said Charles Woods. "The White House was saying there was a failure of policy. Well, what was that failure of policy?"
Just last week the Republican-controlled U.S. House voted 232-186 to create a select committee to investigate the Benghazi attacks and the White House response. Although Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has called it a kangaroo court, Charles Woods says it's an "answer to prayer" and hopes the American people can see beyond the politics.
"It should be all about America, what's best for America, not what's best for one political party or another," said Charles Woods. "There's forgiveness, but we need to have justice, and part of justice is truth and knowing the truth."
A few months after Tyrone Woods was killed, his father paddled out on a beat-up yellow boogie board to their favorite spot. It's the same type of board his son learned to surf on and one his father happened to find at a garage sale after whispering a prayer.
"I could remember just going out there, salt in my eyes and it was such a sweet thing to be able to surf on that yellow boogie board one last time honoring Ty," said Charles Woods. "He was an American hero along with the others that helped him."