KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- One of the rangers in the Benghazi attack in 2012 was in Knoxville Friday. In an exclusive interview, Local 8 News Anchor Lauren Davis sat down with Kris Paronto to talk about the attack and how it ended his combat career.
It's been five years since the firestorm in Benghazi, Lybia, that killed the US Ambassador, but for Ranger Kris Paronto who fought that battle if feels like yesterday. He remembers getting the call to go in, and then having to wait 30 minutes.
"You hear the curse words from the State Department saying basically we're dying," Paronto said. "We found one dead body, Sean Smith. Couldn't find the ambassador, but we tried."
Paronto tells Local 8 they fought for an hour and a half in the consulate before they lost control of it and headed back to the base. After it was all over, Paronto said he and others in his team were asked to keep quiet, but as a group they chose to speak out.
"We told the truth," Paronto said. "We came and told the truth. The truth is we were left behind. It was covered up. All they had to do was come out and say, 'We made a mistake, it was undermanned, we didn't have enough security, we got attacked,' and it's over with."
Paronto said his security clearance was pulled after he spoke publicly, which he said basically means he was fired, so he's taken up writing two books, one titled "13 Hours" and the other called "The Ranger Way."
He's also partnered with a Knoxville athletic gear company to make his own clothing line. That's why he visited Knoxville for a photo shoot Friday. Paronto says,
"To get your own clothing line, I said, 'Sure, I don't want to be older and say, yes I should have done that.'"
Paronto never knew that day in Benghazi would have such an impact on his career, but he said he'd do everything the same again.
To learn more about Paronto's athletic gear, visit his website here.