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Politics / Issues

Father of Son Killed in Benghazi Raid Wants Answers

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Bobbie O'Brien
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WUSF Public Media

Sean Patrick Smith was one of the three men killed along with U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens in the Benghazi raid. Smith had served in the Air Force, was a 10-year veteran of the State Department and the son of Gulfport resident Ray Smith.

Ray Smith’s ex-wife was officially notified of their son’s death, but he learned about it while watching television as the four coffins were returned from Libya.

Ray Smith was a Marine who served during Vietnam. So, the lack of protection for the diplomatic staff made him angry and blames President Obama.

“Blood’s on his hands just like the ones that murdered my son,” Ray Smith told reporters Monday. “My son wasn’t shot in combat, he was murdered and there’s a difference. And he gave his life trying to help the ambassador. He should be given a Medal of Honor.”

Smith turned to Congressman Bill Young for answers. Young said he’s attended all the classified briefings on the Benghazi raid and he’s been told the same thing over and over – “it’s under investigation.”

“I don’t know how long it’s going to take to investigate, but the people of America basically are demanding answers, my constituents are demanding of me that I get the answers,” Young said.

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Credit Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media
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WUSF Public Media
Ray Smith's first reaction at the unveiling of the congressional proclamation and photo of his son was to hug the framed document.

Young has been trying to get answers for Smith and also help him deal with his grief.

The congressman asked Bay Pines VA Hospital, where Ray Smith receives treatment for his wounds suffered during Vietnam, to help honor Smith’s son.

On Monday, a fourth floor counseling room where families meet with chaplains and physicians to discuss difficult medical decisions was dedicated in Sean Patrick Smith’s honor.

A parchment copy of the congressional proclamation recognizing Smith’s sacrifice and his photo are neatly framed and hangs in the room.

When it was unveiled, Ray Smith went over, hugged the picture frame, then took a step back and saluted his son.