One of the four Americans killed in the attack on the Embassy in Libya Sept. 11 lived and worked here in Moab in the mid-1990s. Glen Doherty, 42, worked for a private security firm and was protecting the consulate in Benghazi during the attack last week.
He was river guide for Worldwide Expeditions between 1993 and 1995.
Steve and Nicki Hazlett worked with Doherty. They now own World Wide River Expeditions, but were managers of the river company at the time Doherty lived in Moab.
“He worked for us for those three years. Then he joined the Navy,” Hazlett said. “He said he wanted to be a SEAL.”
Doherty became a Navy SEAL in 1995 and served in the Navy for nine years. He worked as a paramedic and sniper in the Middle East, responding to the USS Cole attack among his missions, and served two tours in Iraq. Kate Quigley, Doherty’s sister, said he was a sniper when the U.S. military rescued Army Private Jessica Lynch in Iraq in 2003 and played a part in breaching palaces of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
Doherty sent Christmas cards to the Hazlett family that would feature photos of him holding a machine gun in exotic places around the world.
He returned to Moab often to visit with friends, sometimes as often as every year.
“He loved the area,” Hazlett said.
Hazlett said that she always had full confidence in Doherty on the river.
“He was one of the best guides we had. We knew when he went out it would be a good trip and people would have a good time,” Hazlett said.
Hazlett described Doherty as a “man’s man”.
“He was a great guy. Always out for adventure. He liked to work hard. He liked to play hard. He loved the adrenaline rush.”
Hazlett said the last time she had a lengthy conversation with Doherty was about two years ago. She described him as “war torn”.
“He was very quiet about some things. He was very vocal about some things,” Hazlett said. “By the look in his eye he had been involved in things that were very intense.”
Hazlett said that no one should feel sorry for Doherty.
“He was a patriot. He loved his job. He knew what he was getting into. He wouldn’t want us to feel bad that what happened to him. He wouldn’t be satisfied doing anything less than what he was doing.”
Anne Verchick was waiting tables at the Rio when she met Doherty.
“He was just an excellent, really funny, engaging customer,” Verchick said. Verchick said he still had a Boston accent and asked for a dessert the restaurant didn’t have. She returned with an ice cream dish usually given to children that looked like a clown with an ice cream cone for the hat.
“It sort of became our joke. That became his dessert,” Verchick said. The cooks continued to play with Doherty’s food over time. “They would make little faces on his burritos.”
She said the second summer Doherty was in Moab he would be the guy who showed up for girls’ movie night.
“There would be a household of women and there was Glen with a beer.” Verchick said he had a few romances, but he still maintained good relationships. “He ended friends with everyone.”
Verchick and Doherty later took an EMT class together.
“He was the one person with the highest grades in that EMT class, and no one resented him,” Verchick said. “He was always on your side. So everybody was on his side. I think that is some sort of gift of temperament. Glen did not assume anyone was an enemy. You had to prove you were an enemy. And that doesn’t make him naïve. That made him a person who made a choice about people.”
Verchick related a story about Doherty’s 40th birthday. His girlfriend threw a birthday party at his home in Encinitas, Calif. Verchick described the home as “packed”. People came from all over the country to celebrate his birthday. Some hadn’t seen him since elementary school. There were people who worked the river with him, or who skied at Snowbird with him. Some served with him in the Navy.
“There was a swarm of people with nothing in common except for loving him. That is a gift to have that kind of engaged and loving relationships with so many people,” Verchick said. “He knew he was gifted. He knew he was lucky. And he didn’t take it for granted.”
He was a person who excelled at everything he did, and sought adventure as he did it, Verchick said. He was an accomplished skier. He tackled Cataract Canyon while river guiding for World Wide River Expeditions. He climbed. He earned a pilot’s license.
“Glen saw everything as an opportunity. It wasn’t fake. He wasn’t shining anyone on. He believed everything was a chance to do it right, to do it better. He lived that way. That is a really hard and taxing place to live out of. He made it look like the natural easy thing to do by pursuing challenges and being happy by being challenged.”
Doherty co-wrote a 2010 book called “The 21st Century Sniper: A Complete Practical Guide,” about how to become a good marksman. An updated version of the book is scheduled to be published in January, according to Doherty’s co-author, Brandon Webb.
Webb, also a former Navy SEAL, called his late friend “a true quiet professional” who also knew how to have fun and loved anything involving recreation.
“I think that the best and worst about this is that he sought challenges and he found them. In this particular case it killed him,” Verchick said. “He went looking for stuff that would stretch him. He got out of so many really improbable and likely horrible things, that I think a lot of us got in a place of thinking that ‘it is Glen and he is always fine’. But this time he wasn’t.”