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New show hosted by Benghazi hero Kris ‘Tanto’ Paronto tells unknown stories of US service members & their legacies

Three US Army (USA) Soldiers from 1st Battalion (BN), 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), Task Force Panther, 82nd Airborne Division (AD), Kandahar Army Airfield, Afghanistan (AFG), pause on top of a hill before proceeding towards their remain over night (RON) site on the outskirts of Shinkay Village, Afghanistan (AFG), after completing Operation PANTHER QLIMAX. (SSG LEOPOLD MEDINA JR., USA/U.S. Army)
April 15, 2019

The first glimpse of a new pro-military documentary series has been released, and it features the lives of American service members with host Benghazi hero Kris “Tanto” Paronto.

War Heroes, the series created and produced by Jack Thomas Smith, is comprised of episodes that follow one service member or veteran at a time, detailing their unique experiences in service, at home, and the legacy they leave behind after their sacrifices.

Watch the trailer below:

Smith, a writer, producer and director, came up with the idea in 2017 after hearing a news report of two U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan and not knowing their names.

“They were just a blip on the news,” Smith told American Military News. “You don’t know their names. You don’t know anything about them.”

At the time, he thought, “Why not create a series where our men and women in uniform are the stars of each episode?”

He reached out to Paronto, who quickly got involved as the host. Film and TV producer Glenn Nevola is serving as executive producer alongside Smith, as well as Smith’s fiancée, Mandy Del Rio, TV host and producer.

Jack Thomas Smith, Mandy Del Rio, Kris Paronto & Glenn Nevola – Las Vegas Premier, January 2019. (Courtesy of Jack Thomas Smith)

Paronto is a former Army Ranger from the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, and one of the survivors of the 2012 terror attacks on the U.S. government facilities in Benghazi.

In the War Heroes’ pilot episode, Smith and Paronto met with family, friends and fellow troops of Sgt. Ryan E. Doltz, a New Jersey Army National Guard soldier who was killed by an IED in Baghdad, Iraq, on June 5, 2004.

Smith was introduced to the Doltz family after his daughter learned of them through a mutual friend. Doltz was part of a unit responsible for patrolling and protecting Iraqi police stations.

Ryan Doltz. (Photo courtesy of the Doltz family)

The episode showcases Doltz’s life through the memories of his loved ones.

“We learn about his life from birth right up to the day he was killed. But then we go beyond that,” Smith said. “We also show what his family has done to keep his memory alive. That’s the whole theme of the show.”

“They’ve tried to keep their son’s memory alive in everything they do,” he added.

He described each planned episode as an individual documentary, each one following a service member’s legacy, and even featuring any charities created by their families.

Smith and Paronto held screenings for the series’ pilot and take the opportunity to raise money for charity.

Two screenings they recently held in New Jersey helped raise money for Paronto’s 14th Hour Foundation, which helps provide funds to veterans in need, as well as the Doltz family’s Sgt. Ryan E. Doltz Memorial Foundation.

Mandy Del Rio, Jack Thomas Smith, Kris Paronto, Cheryl Doltz, Megan Cruz (Smith) – Las Vegas Premier, January 2019. (Courtesy of Jack Thomas Smith)

“If they have a charity, we can have events going to help out their causes,” Smith explained, adding that he is eager to hold future fundraising efforts for more Gold Star families.

Smith said he hopes to see at least 12 episodes in the first season. He’s currently in search of a network or sponsors to help the series proceed, and he has multiple seasons of ideas in mind.

“There are so many stories we can tell,” Smith said.