The hero of the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi Libya told a crowd at San Antonio's Ecumenical Center for Education, Counseling and Health that we need to stop calling it Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Former Army Ranger Kris 'Tanto' Paronto was a CIA paramilitary contractor for the U.S. State Department when Al-Aqeda linked terrorists assaulted the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, in a raid that killed the U.S. Ambassador and three others. Paronto's story was told in the book and movie '13 Hours.
'While Paronto enthralled the crowd with his story of being pinned under fire in a hostile and confusing country, he told News Radio 1200 WOAI that the goal of his talk is to change the conversation about PTSD, and to stress that it is not a 'disorder.'
"When you say its a 'disorder,' you mean to say there is something wrong with you," Paronto told 1200 WOAI news in an interview. "There isn't anything wrong with you. In fact, you are stronger than you have ever been because you have had to handle something that somebody else can't."
Paronto's remarks coincided with a $1.6 million state grant to allow the Ecumenical Center to provide critically needed counseling to veterans at eight locations across South Texas.
He says Post Truamatic Stress should be considered a 'burden of honor.'
"It is, its a burden that you have to handle, but you can only handle it because you are strong enough to handle it," he said. "God does that for you."
Paronto says he is speaking to inspire people who have suffered stress due to war, or due to any of the many other stessful situations that Americans face every day.
He also wants to honor the lives of the Americans who were killed in Benghazi and in the War on Terror.
He says veterans with Post Traumatic Stress should wear that as a badge of honor."You have been through a situation that exemplified your heroism and exemplified your strength," he said.