Kris Paronto - “Tanto” as he is affectionately known in security contracting circles - is a former Army Ranger from 2nd Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment and private security contractor who has deployed throughout South America, Central America, the Middle East and North Africa. He also worked with the US Government’s Global Response Staff conducting low profile security in high threat environments throughout the world.
Kris was part of the CIA annex security team that responded to the terrorist attack on the US Special Mission in Benghazi, Libya, September 11th, 2012, helping to save over 20 lives while fighting off terrorists from the CIA Annex for over 13 hours. His story is told in the book “13 Hours” written by Mitchell Zuckoff and his five surviving annex security team members.
Kris has been involved in security operations in hostile environments for over 10 years. His team’s involvement with the September 11th, 2012 attack on the US special mission in Benghazi, Libya was paramount in the saving of US lives and assets. He is a proven leader, teammate and friend to those who have deployed with him, and a devout father to three children.
- 1st Annual Evening With Heroes - September 29, 2016
Col. Danny McKnight
Whose actions were depicted in the book and subsequent movie Black Hawk Down
This first Evening with Heroes was timed to recognize the 23rd anniversary of The Battle of Mogadishu. In this operation nineteen Americans gave their lives in the defense of our nation. The battle was fought from 3–4 October 1993, in Mogadishu, Somalia, between forces of the United States (supported by UN forces) and Somali militiamen loyal to the war lord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. The initial U.S. Joint Special Operations force, Task Force
Ranger, was a collaboration of various U.S. elite special forces units whose mission was to seize two of Aidid's high-echelon lieutenants. The goal of the operation was achieved, however conditions spiraled into the deadly Battle of Mogadishu. The initial operation of 3 October 1993, intended to last an hour, became an overnight standoff and rescue operation extending into daylight hours of 4 October.
Colonel Danny R. McKnight, U.S. Army, Retired, played an integral part in The Battle of Mogadishu and his actions, along with so many heroes from our military is depicted in the movie Black Hawk Down.
Colonel McKnight’s military career included combat duty on two occasions, Panama 1989 and Somalia 1993. Colonel McKnight‘s awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit (2 awards), the Bronze Star Medal for Valor, the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman‘s Badge, the Ranger Tab, the Master Parachutist Badge with Combat Star, and the Pathfinder Badge.
In addition, he also served in command positions with 3rd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, 4th Battalion 27th Infantry, First U.S. Army
After completing 28 and one-half years of service to our country in the Army, Colonel McKnight then served in two Homeland Security related positions, Homeland Security Coordinator for the Brevard County Emergency Management Office, and Homeland Security Training Coordinator in the Criminal Justice Center. He and his wife, Linda, reside in Rockledge, Florida.