Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, the two former Navy SEALs who died in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, were reportedly rushing to the aid of their colleagues, according to sources familiar with the incident.
Multiple news outlets are reporting that Doherty and Woods, who were in Benghazi as part of a security contractor force, were aiding the rescue of the main U.S. consulate building's occupants when the facility caught fire.
According to CNN, the two former SEALs, along with other security personnel, made their way to the scene in an effort to rescue consulate staff who were under attack and guide them back to a second safe building.
In addition to the task of rescuing personnel, Doherty and Woods were also responsible for recovering the body of computer expert Sean Smith, who had succumbed to smoke inhalation from a fire ignited by the attackers, according to CNN.
The newswire, which cites sources, reports that diesel fuel was used to set the fire, and the thick, black smoke created by the accelerant added to the confusion on the ground, which ultimately led to the death of four U.S. citizens.
U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, the most high profile among the dead, had gone missing during the attack and was reportedly unable to be rescued. The State Dept. has not released details about how Stevens died, though numerous media reports have said the ambassador was taken from the consulate to Benghazi Medical Center by locals.
According to CNN, after Doherty and Woods arrived at the security annex at which they were based, the incident escalated and a second attack was launched. The secondary situation was reportedly more intense than the initial assault on the consulate.
Military officials in Benghazi told CNN that rocket-propelled grenades were among the heavy firepower used by the attackers at the annex, with one official saying mortars were also fired.
"It was during that (second attack) that two additional U.S. personnel were killed and two others were wounded," a senior administration official told the newswire last week. The two victims were later confirmed to be Doherty and Woods.
The men were remembered last week during a transfer-of-remains ceremony attended by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama.
"Four Americans, four patriots, they loved their country and chose to serve it and serve it well," Obama said. "They had a mission and they believed in it, and they knew the danger and they accepted it. They didn't simply embrace the American ideal, they lived it, they embodied it: the courage, the hope and, yes, the idealism."
Glen Doherty, a Massachusetts native, served two tours of duty in Iraq, starting with the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, before leaving the military in 2005. He then became a private security contractor, working in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen. A diplomatic source told CNN that Doherty was in Libya to search for shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles -- a mission given high priority after the fall of longtime Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi.
Tyrone Woods served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as a registered nurse and certified paramedic. After retiring from the Navy, he worked in diplomatic security in posts from Central America to the Middle East.