The hottest tickets in Manteca for April — a seat at the Not Forgotten Evening of Honor dinner with guest speaker Mark “Oz” Geist who was a member of the Annex Security Team that fought the Battle of Benghazi in Libya — have been sold out for weeks.
But if you missed out on the tickets that sold for $500 to secure a table of eight at the event that takes place Friday, April 1, at the Christian Worship Center, 786 Button Ave., you can still hear Geist talk and it won’t cost you a dime.
The Veterans of Foreign War Post 6311 is offering 200 free tickets to listen to Giest’s presentation on Saturday, April 2, at 9 a.m. at the Manteca Community Center/Manteca Veterans Center on Moffat Boulevard.
People can pick up the free tickets Monday through Friday at the community center between 9 a.m. and noon.
“We are guaranteeing people who have a free ticket a seat for the program,” said Post Commander Carlon Perry.
Geist is credited with helping save the lives of 25 Americans during the attack on the American Embassy and is the co-author of the best-selling book “13 Hours in Benghazi.”
Geist is a member of the Annex Security Team that fought the Battle of Benghazi, Libya, from Sept. 11-12. A Colorado native, Geist joined the United States Marine Corps in 1984. During his time in the service, he served in Barracks Duty in the Philippines, then with the 2nd Battalion 9th Marines Golf Company, as well as the Surveillance and Target Acquisition Platoon. He then was chosen to serve in the newly formed Marine Cadre program as an Anti-/Counter- Terrorism Instructor. Upon the completion of a very successful tour and re-enlistment, Geist changed his military occupational specialty to the Intelligence field, specializing in Interrogation Translation. He attended language school where he studied Persian Farsi.
After serving 12 years in the United States Maine Corps, Geist became a Deputy Sheriff in Teller County, Colorado. In that role, he was assigned as liaison with the Vice Narcotics and Intelligence Unit in Colorado Springs, Colorado, as well as an Investigator for Crimes against Children. Certified as a Forensic Interviewer of children, he investigated numerous case of abuse in which he helped to secure convictions of the perpetrators. He then took a job as Chief of Police in Fowler, Colorado. After leaving the Fowler Police Department, Geist began his own business in private investigations as well as bounty hunting and bail bonds.
In 2004, Geist began doing contract security work in Iraq. He worked for Triple Canopy, providing Personal Security Details for Department of State personnel in Baquba, Iraq. Upon the completion of that contract he worked for USIS, the United States Investigative Services, training Iraqi SWAT teams and Personal Security Details. He also served as a mentor/advisor to the Personal Security Detail of Dr. Ayad Allawi, the former Prime Minister of Iraq.
Geist finished his career as a security contractor in Benghazi, Libya, where he was credited with helping to save the lives of 25 Americans. Geist is still recovering from the injuries he sustained in the battle.
Proceeds from the April 1 dinner will help underwrite the Not Forgotten annual Memorial Day Weekend Event at Woodward Park.