There is an email in my IN box, from five days ago, from Glen Doherty, author and ex–Navy SEAL. He was working on editorial notes for a manuscript I’d done some work on.
“Thank you for all your efforts. I see where you’ve jumped into the writing, and all’s well. Finding little things here and there … Have it to you in the next few days. — Glen”
If you’ve read my book The Red Circle, you’ll recognize Glen’s name: he and The Red Circle coauthor Brandon Webb went through Navy SEAL sniper school together back in 2000, were paired up as a sniper-and-spotter team, and watched each other’s backs from that point on.
Brandon’s description of being awoken every morning in sniper training by Glen’s fastidious wake-up routine has got to be one of the funniest moments in the book. (“Then the sounds would start: his percolating coffeepot, then some sort of eighties rock music blaring through his earphones, which he thought we couldn’t hear but in fact only made him even more oblivious to the extent of the racket he was making, messing around with all his stuff, clattering around and getting his coffee ready, burping and farting but not hearing himself because he had those earphones in, then followed by his electric toothbrush, endless loud gargle, and the invariable lengthy punctuating spit that made us all groan. … I love Glen like a brother, but this was torture.”)
That October, their team was deployed as one of the first responders on the scene when the USS Cole was attacked and nearly sunk off the coast of Yemen. For the next few days, Brandon and Glen spelled each other around the clock as sniper watch, protecting the site from further attack.
They were best friends.
Yesterday I got the news. Glen was one of the small group of Americans with Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens who perished in the attack on the U.S. embassy in Banghazi, Libya, begun in the waning hours of Tuesday, the eleventh.
One commenter on Brandon’s site, SOFREP.com, put it well: “Our hearts are crushed.”
So they are.
Condolences and grief, thoughts and prayers, love and all our best unsaid words, go to Brandon, and to Glen’s family.
Some days, it’s hard to get up and pick up the pen and keep writing. It’s what we do, and we’ll keep doing it, and keep doing the things we all do to find ways to make the world a brighter place.
Some days it’s just harder than others.
Addendum, Sept. 13: Here is what Brandon had to say on his site, SOFREP.com:
“Glen was a superb and respected operator, a true quiet professional. Don’t feel sorry for him, he wouldn’t have it. He died serving with men he respected, protecting the freedoms we enjoy as Americans and doing something he loved. He was my best friend and one of the finest human beings I’ve ever known.”