A Winchester, Mass., native and former Navy SEAL was among the four Americans killed in the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, according to his family, who remembered him as a hero who died protecting his country.
“He lived his life to the fullest, and he always did everything he wanted to do,” Kate Quigley of Marblehead said of her brother, 42-year-old Glen Doherty, a Bay State transplant living in California who was working as a private security contractor for the government when a group of heavily armed militants attacked the consulate complex in Benghazi.
“Even though he stood 5-10, he was always the biggest person in the room,” Quigley said. “Glen was unconventional. He wants us to celebrate his life, and that’s what we’ll do. ... He’s a hero.”
Doherty, Ambassador Chris Stevens and two others were killed when the deadly riots broke out, initially believed to be sparked by an American-produced movie ridiculing Muhammad. Officials said yesterday they were investigating whether they were in fact premeditated acts of terrorism.
“My take is I know he died protecting America and he died trying to help anybody who got hurt that day,” Quigley said of her brother. “To be honest with you, Glen was so good at what he did, I don’t think he went down to a couple protestors over a video. But whether it was a video or a bigger thing, I don’t know. I know he died protecting this country.”
Doherty, who lived in San Diego, was a Navy SEAL for roughly eight years who then turned to private security, his sister said. She said he flew to Libya on Sept. 5, and his family learned of his death late yesterday afternoon.
“We all knew the risk, but he’s come back time and time again,” Quigley said.”He was really good at what he did. He was a sniper. He was in Iraq when the palaces came down after Saddam Hussein.”
Sonja Johnson, Doherty’s ex-wife, said in a tearful phone interview the man she knew since their days at Winchester High School was “brave” and the “best of the best” at what he did.
“It’s hard to get your head around,” Johnson said of his death. “We just never thought this would happen to Glen. He was the best, he was the smartest, and it’s very tragic. We all have personal stories, whether it was the war in Iraq or Afghanistan. It really hits home. It really puts a face on the terrible things that are happening in the world today.”
Doherty, his sister said, graduated from Winchester High in 1988, and went to flight school at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Arizona. He then moved to Utah, where he was a professional skier, before telling his family, “if he didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life by the time he turned 30, he was going to become a Navy SEAL,” Quigley said.
“He was an adventure seeker,” she said.
After leaving the SEALs, Doherty also became an author, penning the book “The 21st Century Sniper” with Brandon Webb. Quigley said he also appeared in a documentary about snipers and a reality show about hunting terrorists called “The Wanted.”
“That was his Hollywood stint,” she said.
Johnson, who was married to Doherty for roughly five years, said he was also humble in the midst of his success.
“He didn’t want to become a movie star or a celebrity,” she said. “Part of it when he got involved in that show, his role was kind of a technical expert. He was supposed to be behind the camera.
“Anyone you speak to will just think of him in the highest regard,” Johnson added. “People loved him, people still love him. They always will.”
Distributed by MCT Information Services