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Remembering CIA’s Heroes: Glen A. Doherty

This is part of our series about CIA employees who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Here we will look at the lives of the men and women who have died while serving their country.

Currently, there are 125 stars carved into the marble of the CIA Memorial Wall. The wall stands as a silent, simple memorial to those employees “who gave their lives in the service of their country.” The CIA has released the names of 91 employees; the names of the remaining 34 officers must remain secret, even in death.


Glen A. Doherty, a CIA contract protective officer, lost his life in the service of his country while trying to protect a CIA facility in Benghazi, Libya, early on the morning of September 12, 2012. He was killed alongside his friend and fellow officer, Tyrone Woods.

Glen DohertyEarly Years:

Glen was a highly decorated SEAL, a warrior and a medical corpsman: He was a nine-year veteran with combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. He came to the Navy and later to CIA to fulfill his sense of adventure and his need for service.

Glen lived life on the edge—he maintained his private pilot’s license and excelled at skiing, surfing, and mountain-biking. His friends remember him as selfless, someone who was always there to help a buddy through difficult times, like a divorce, or simply to watch the houses of colleagues on deployment.

Glen was always improving himself, studying aviation and medical techniques, as well as taking on home improvement jobs. He was such a good friend that many people found out later that each had considered Glen their best friend.

His Final Mission:

Glen took his passion for adventure and for taking care of others into CIA service as a protective officer beginning in 2005. He deployed fourteen times with CIA.

When the State Department’s mission facility in Benghazi was attacked on September 11, 2012, Glen was part of a CIA team that mobilized to try to rescue the staff there, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. When the group discovered that the Ambassador was missing, it decided to deploy to the CIA base in Benghazi instead to help reinforce that position and evacuate mission staff.

When Glen’s team arrived, CIA officers in Benghazi had already taken up defensive positions, as the Base was under attack by small arms and machine gun fire as well as from rocket-propelled grenades and hand-thrown bombs.

On the morning of September 12, the CIA Base was subjected to repeated mortar fire. Learning that his friend, fellow CIA officer and fellow former SEAL Tyrone Woods, was manning a defensive position on the roof, Glen without hesitation went to help him. These were the kind of men who ran towards danger.

Defending the compound from the rooftop, Glen died alongside his friend when a mortar round landed near them.

Honoring His Legacy:

Glen Doherty was 42 years old. He is survived by his parents, his brother and sister, and the many friends who packed the church for his funeral as well as the streets of Winchester, Massachusetts.

Dozens of Glen’s surfer friends took some of his ashes on a “paddle out” and sprinkled them off Swami’s Beach in Encinitas, California; and then, as Glen wished, hundreds celebrated his life at a massive block party.

At the Snowbird resort in Utah, where Glen skied many years ago, another group of friends dedicated a particularly challenging run in his name, spreading the rest of his ashes on what is now known as “Glen’s Run.”

In the wake of Glen’s death his family and friends launched The Glen Doherty Memorial Foundation, affectionately known as GDMF. The Foundation gives scholarships to members of the special operations community as a means of transitioning out of military and back to civilian life. To date they have given over 28 scholarships to amazing candidates. They do this knowing that it is a lasting legacy to an amazing man and friend lost too soon. For more information visit: Glendohertyfoundation.org.


Posted: Sep 12, 2017 03:00 PM
Last Updated: Sep 12, 2017 03:30 PM