Benghazi hero Dave ‘Boon’ Benton unveils his ‘Askari’ at the Orlando International SWAT Round-Up
STORY AND PHOTOS BY PAUL PAWELA
The Alamo is one of the most celebrated feats of bravery in American history. For 13 days in 1836, a small band of rebels (reports say 160 to 180 men) defending an old Spanish mission called the Alamo held out against a vastly superior-sized fighting force of an estimated 4,000.
That bloody siege came to an end on the morning of March 6 when Mexican
General Santa Anna’s soldiers attacked and killed the entire Alamo garrison.
The story of the Alamo quickly enshrined the event in its place of
importance in history and made people like William B. Travis, James Bowie and David Crockett largerthan-life American folk heroes. To stand on the hallowed grounds of the Alamo, the spirits call out for remembrance in both patriotism and heroism. One can almost hear the voice of Lieutenant Colonel Travis, commander of the Alamo, as he penned the final letter of his life:
“To the people of Texas and all Americans in the world – fellow citizens and compatriots – I am besieged, by a thousand or more Mexicans under Santa Anna – I have sustained a continual bombardment and cannonade for 24 hours and have not lost a man. The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise be put to the sword, if the fort is taken – I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, and our flag waves proudly from the walls.
I shall never surrender or retreat. I call on you in the name of liberty, of patriotism and everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch – The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily and will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his honor and that of his country – victory or death!”
That is what makes America great, the fighting spirit and resolve of its warriors who live the creed Lt. Col. Travis spoke of.
MANY YEARS LATER on September 11, 2012, another group of rough and tough, true-grit Americans found themselves fighting against overwhelming odds, this time overseas in Benghazi, one of the most dangerous places on the planet. The story has been well documented and was excellently featured in the February 2016 American Shooting Journal article “The Hell That Was Benghazi,” by Frank Jardim, about the movie 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.
Just as the men of The Alamo have become household names, so too have the men of Benghazi, including Mark “Oz” Geist, Kris “Tanto” Paronto, John “Tig” Tiegen, and Dave “Boon” Benton.
Boon, who prefers anonymity to fame, is a former Marine Corps sergeant and a former SWAT team police officer. In the Marines, he was a member of a Maritime Special Purpose Force and special operations capable. As the book 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi states, he is a man of many specialties, from close-quarters battle to long-distance sniping and everything in between. For over a decade he was also a highly valued personal protection specialist for the CIA.
In the industry, Boon is well known and well documented for his heroism under fire. I was honored to receive training from him and Tanto, and I was even more honored to write about the two and the tactical lessons they imparted to me in a July 2018 American Shooting Journal article.
AS TIME HAS passed, I have gotten to personally know Boon better. I have traveled with him, broken bread with him, lived under the same roof as him and trained classes with him, and I can attest he is the real deal 24/7. You may be thinking that I am just idol worshiping the man.
The truth of the matter is that all my life I have been blessed to be surrounded by warriors; my dad was a World War II four combat-jump paratrooper wounded at the Battle of the Bulge and a charter featured in the movie A Bridge Too Far, as he was on that bridge.
I am constantly mentored by larger-than life good friends such as Ranger Hall of Famers Gary O’Neal and Max Mullen, and Danny McKnight, who
commanded ground forces during the Battle of Mogadishu and was portrayed
by Tom Sizemore in Black Hawk Down. Then there are all my ex-Delta and Seal Team 6 mentors.
Benton is a unique man, a quiet man, very much a philosopher of life. He is a family man, a lover of his country and God. A man who will fight to the death if need be, but trust me, it would be no easy task to kill him, as it has been tried many times before. On weapons, tactics, combatives and overall survival skills, there are very few people I listen to more closely than Boon. TOGETHER WITH ALEX Ferrer, the CEO and owner of Veritas and a custom rifle builder, Boon has come up with a new design for the AR pistol he has dubbed the Askari. The Askari, which conceals well in an average backpack, is a 5.56 AR pistol platform with 7075 T6 forged aluminum upper and lower ambidextrous bolt catch and release.
It also features a 7.5-inch 1:7-twist SEP match barrel with a 4150V-grade
Mil-Spec B 1159E chrome moly (CrMo V) and black nitride finish-NiB barrel extension.
The pistol-length gas system with Geissele .750-inch low-profile gas block comes complete with a 7-inch Geissele MK 14 Rail System, Geissele airborne charging handle and Geissele carbine buffer and 42 wire carbine buffer spring. Other accoutrements to be found on the Askari include an AAC Flash Hider, WMD Nib M16 BCG, Radian 45-degree ambidextrous safety, Law Tactical folding adapter SB SBA3 Pistol brace, VZ Grips AR Grips, rail panels and hand stop, and Magpul Pro back and front flip-up sights
complete with Magpul Trigger guard.
Also included in the package is an Askari laser-engraved 30-round magazine, Askari name and logo laser engraved on the receiver and hard case, along with a personal autographed picture from Boon himself.
THE ASKARI LOGO’S history has deep rooted meaning to Boon. In Arabic and in Swahili, Askari means “soldier.” In Old Norse, it means the “spear of God.” The triangle symbolizes the diverse mission profile of direct action with the tenants of close-quarter battle (speed, surprise and violence of action), as well as the PPS operators’ mission
statement (deter, detect and defend).
The Latin phrase Invenimus tibi translates to “we found you,” which means you are safe because we are protecting you. The stars are deeply personal, as they pay tribute to fallen brothers of Boon’s who were lost in three different actions in three different geographical operating areas. The spear pays homage to those who are always deployed forward and operating beyond the tip of the spear.
SO WHAT IS so special about the Askari? For one, it was tested and vetted by another famous Marine war hero and firearms instructor extraordinaire, Israel Matos, one of the famed individuals featured in Paronto’s new book The Patriot’s Creed. With the Askari, Matos was able to hit targets out to 250 yards with a 1¾-inch grouping using a standard 55-grain .223-caliber bullet. That is outstanding coming from a 7-inch barrel. The Askari was well vetted at last November’s Orlando International SWAT Round-Up, where the gun performed so well that another article is warranted on it in the future.
Second, Davy Crockett’s rifle ol’ Betsy was just as beautiful as it was
lethal; fully functional with deadly good looks. The Askari fits the same bill and profile – beautiful and lethal.
Third, the gun was built and designed by an American hero, thus making the Askari, like Crockett’s Betsy, part of American history – and rightfully so!
Editor’s note: For more information on Dave “Boon” Benton’s training, go to threatmanagementsolutions.com. For more on the Askari and Veritas Tactical, Boon on the range. go to veritastactical.com.