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Community Mourns Glen Doherty

Friends and family share the impact Winchester native Glen Doherty, who was one of the four Americans killed in Libya, had one them.

Friends and family are mourning the death of Glen Doherty, the former Navy SEAL who was  on Wednesday.

Doherty, 42, resided near San Diego, CA, but his family remains in Woburn near his hometown of Winchester where he graduated in 1988.

Superintendent William H. McAlduff Jr. ordered all school and municipal flags to be flown at half staff in his memory.

"It saddens me to acknowledge the untimely death of Mr. Glen," McAlduff said in a statement. "I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of our school system, to offer our most sincere sympathies, thoughts and prayers to Mr. Doherty's family and friends. We are extremely proud of Mr. Doherty's service to our country."

Doherty's 11th grade English teacher said he was one of her most memorable students in her 30 years of teaching.

"Glen was bursting with life," said Judy Hession, director of English. "Every day his huge smile and his happy-go-lucky optimism filled my classroom. He got along with all types of people, was a class leader."

Hession, of Cambridge, told Boston.com Doherty was an "A" student, and she expected him to grow up to be a chief executive or an entrepreneur. She said even though she didn't see a military future for her student, she was not surprised he was able to accomplish so much.

What do you remember about Glen Doherty? Share in the comments below.

Doherty was part of the varsity tennis and wrestling teams while he attended .

Larry Tremblay, Doherty’s former wrestling coach, told FOX 25 he was a state and New England finalist in 1985. He also said he was a fun-loving guy with a smile that could light up a room.

Watch the video interview with Tremblay here.

Doherty was a member of CrossFIT Boston. The gym posted the following Friday morning:

"CrossFit Boston lost one of its community members this week with the attacks in Libya. Many of you probably don't know Glen as he was a member of the gym back during the early days in Roxbury. Glen was as good as they come. He and I had kept in touch over the years after his time in Boston was through and he returned to California.

He will be missed."

Doherty also worked as a trainer at the SealFIT Gym while living in Encinitas, CA, according to FOX 5 San Diego.

Barbara Doherty told WCVB her son was a wonderful person and the family is in pain and suffering. She also said she did not know where he was until they received word of his death Wednesday night.

Katie Quigley, Doherty's sister living in Marblehead, told the press Thursday afternoon during a public appearance near the family home in Woburn that her brother lived his life to the fullest and everyone considered him a close friend and brother. She also  "our American hero."

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Doherty was working in Libya as a private security contractor. He was one of the four people killed in the attack along with U.S. Ambassador John Christopher Stevens, Navy SEAL and 20-year military veteran Tyrone Woods and American diplomat Sean Smith, a Foreign Service information management officer, according to the New England Cable News.

He was also one of the first Military Religious Freedom Foundation Advisory Board members and is described as a passionate core contributor to this advocacy group that fights inappropriate religious proselytizing inside the armed forces, according to the MRFF President and Founder Michael Weinstein.

Doherty was listed as a highly decorated Navy SEAL with multiple combat deployments in his MRFF bio. He attended the 18 Delta Special Forces Combat Medical School, the SEAL sniper course and was an expert in SEAL combat tactics before he left the Navy in 2005. He then spent four years working as a security and intelligence specialist for US Government Agencies conducting operations in high threat regions including Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Doherty was also an accomplished pilot as he holds a BS in professional aeronautics from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University with a minor in aviation safety, according to the MRFF.

Weinstein released the following statement regarding Doherty's participation in the MRFF and the impact he had:

"With enormous sadness, it is our regrettable duty to report the loss of active MRFF Advisory Board Member Glen Doherty, a victim of the terrible September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya. The attack also claimed the life of U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens. As a highly decorated former Navy SEAL and veteran of innumerable fierce battles, Glen’s love of life was only outscaled by his fearlessness, his indomitable willpower, and his unbending sense of duty. For Glen Doherty, combating the unconstitutional religious proselytizing within the U.S. military was simply a matter of fulfilling his sworn oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. In his capacity as one of the longest-serving core contributors to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, Glen initiated and fulfilled his tasks with enormous verve and unflagging enthusiasm. With great interest and a near-clairvoyant ability to forecast threats, challenges, and trends, Glen helped steer the foundation towards some of its most sterling triumphs.

Indeed, Glen was a brother, a dear family friend, and a trusted colleague of inestimable worth. All who knew him were positively affected by his larger-than-life charisma and dynamism. His tragic absence is already being sorely felt, but the radiance he exuded will ensure that our memory of his deeds will never dim. Indeed, Glen’s indelible contributions to our shared cause will long outlive his tragically shortened life."

Greg Doherty, Glen's brother, said he was very loyal to his friends and family. He said he had a desire to push himself and that led him to his military career.

Greg submitted the following obituary shedding more light into Doherty's life and as a tribute to his brother:

"Glen Anthony Doherty was the second of three children born to Bernard "Ben" Doherty, now of Charlestown, Mass, and Barbara Doherty, now of Woburn, Massachusetts. His older brother is Greg Doherty of Kensington, California, his younger sister Kate Quigley of Marblehead, Mass. The siblings were great lifelong friends. They grew up in Winchester, Mass, across the street from a patch of woods where they first fell in love with the outdoors. Ben Doherty, the son of Irish immigrants who kept a chicken farm in Billerica, Mass, is a former boxer and Massachusetts boxing commissioner, as well as a successful stockbroker, who raised the children to be athletic, tough, hard-working and family-minded. Barbara Doherty, who opened and for years ran a candy store in Lexington called The Candy Castle, is an extremely warm-hearted and friendly woman who raised her children to be kind to everyone, and who opened her home as a second home for all her children's friends.

Glen was very loyal to his friends and family. He kept the same core group of friends since elementary school, and it was their loyalty to each other and fun-loving nature, as well as Barbara's welcoming home, that brought them from being a one-time crew of social misfits to the center of an awful lot of damn fun people of all stripes who remain tight to this day. After high school, Glen attended Embry Riddle aeronautical university in Arizona, where he flew planes, rode a motorcycle and decided that the only thing cooler to do than what he was doing would be to up and leave. His fearlessness took many forms throughout his life, but was always at his core. He became a ski bum at Snowbird, Utah in the winters, working at restaurants and becoming a phenomenal skier on both regular and telemark skis, as well as a talented cook and after-party expert.

In the summers, he was a white water rafting guide down the Colorado River, where his knowledge of the outdoors, his responsibility and his abilities to tell a great tall tale and to get everyone to have fun made multi-day journeys from Moab to Lake Powell experiences of a lifetime for many. He was always a hard worker and extremely responsible, which never managed to drive a wedge between him and the lovable riff-raff who shared his lifestyle. His athleticism also led him to become a triathlete during this period. The many friends he gathered during these years always remained as dear to him as he was to them, and he took every opportunity, usually meaning a few weeks a year, to return to his beloved mountains and friends in Utah.

A desire to push himself and to use his talents to make genuine change in the world led him to join the Navy SEALS in 1995. He passed the training and became a paramedic and sniper with the Middle East as his area of operations. His team responded to the USS Cole attack, among other missions. In 2001, he got his knees reconstructed and was planning on exiting the military when September 11th happened. He now was not allowed to leave and didn't want to. He married Sonja Johnson, his girlfriend who he'd known since high school, and went overseas again. He participated in two tours of the 2003 Gulf War, "Iraqi Freedom." In the first, his team began by securing the Kuwait oil fields before the invasion officially began to prevent the environmentally disastrous recurrence of them being burned, as had happened under Saddam Hussein's orders during Desert Storm in 1991. Then they led the earliest Marine contingents battling on the move from the south of Iraq towards Baghdad. He was peeled from his unit for sniper duty for several days, returned to it before the taking of Baghdad, and continued with them to take Saddam's hometown of Tikrit, where they finally got a breather in Hussein's riverside palaces once those were cleared. He returned for another tour to the troubled country the following year. About fighting in Iraq, he simply believed that the possibility of liberating the country from a tyrant and making democracy possible for the Iraqi people was worth him risking his own life for.

In typical Glen fashion, he made close lifelong friends with a number of his team members. In 2005, he exited the SEALS, but remained focused on the region through private security contracting work that generally took him to the region in a pattern of about 3 months overseas, a month or two back home. He worked for peace and security in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere. Each gig was a different situation, some hairy, some boring, most both in alternating fashion.  The pattern took a toll on his home life, and he got divorced. When at home, thereafter, he lived the life of Riley, bouncing between the beaches and Cross-fit facilities of San Diego, the mountains of Utah, and his family and friends in Massachusetts and around the country. He was the glue that kept many social scenes together. Once he flew all his closest friends and family members to Mexico for a beach vacation and put them up in cabins for a weekend, because that was what his priorities were about: time together.

He was full of hilarious and adventuresome stories, of which you generally had to shave off about a quarter of the details to get at the pure facts, if those were your concern.  He was a master of both shit-talk and encouragement. He wrote a book on sniping, 21st Century Sniper: A Complete Practical Guide with his friend Brandon Webb. He grew about as settled as he was inclined to allow himself to get with a good woman named Shannon Shepherd. His way of making everyone around him feel special and loved came from the fact that he genuinely looked up to all his friends, always seeing their greatness in a way they sometimes wished they could see themselves, and from the fact that he felt for them the purest and most loyal of love."

Doherty’s remains will be cremated and sent to the West Coast, according to the Boston Globe. There will be a memorial service at the Arlington National Cemetery.

Lindsey Davidson September 14, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Via Twitter from @SoxOnTheBrain: My heartfelt condolences to Glen Doherty's family and friends, on the loss of one so true. He lived and died a hero. Via Facebook from Lisa Klinkenberg: Our deepest sympathy to his family and friends as they mourn his tragic loss ♥
Holly Gorsuch September 18, 2012 at 12:37 PM
What a loss of a wonderful person. I had the pleasure of getting to know Glen in 1988 in Prescott, AZ and was his Resident Assistant at the dorms. Many memories came flooding back thinking about the one year that I did get to spend time with Glen. My thoughts and prayers are with Glen, his family and all his friends. Holly Gorsuch
Katherine Waters-Clark September 18, 2012 at 04:17 PM
What a loving, honest and impressive tribute. Condolences to all who knew and loved this man.
Una Conneely September 19, 2012 at 04:19 AM
I am truly proud to be from the same small town - as such a clearly honorable and TRUE hero... My sincere sympathy and Thanks to his family and friends. Thank you for sharing Glen with all of us. May his memory, service, and sacrifice - Never be forgotten. God Bless Glen, and all those who loved him. God Bless America XO
Wanda McCutcheon October 27, 2012 at 04:17 AM
Wanda McCutcheon I continue to be saddened by the tragic death of a complete stranger. But a stranger who gave his life proving that the American soldier is the steely spine of our great nation. They fight and defend us each day without complaint and often without thanks. God Bless Glen Doherty and know that America will see that he did not die in vein & will seek the truth.

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