Et Lux Perpetua Luceat Eis…

September 13, 2012

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,, 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,

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.


  1. Linda Ryan

    Ohhhhh John… all my “best unsaid words” to you today. Prayers for Glen and everyone who loved him.

  2. Gilles Arbour

    Oh no! This type of news usually remains kind of anonymous. Your post makes me realize these four people are closer than expected. In some way they all could be my neighbours, family members, my brothers. This has suddenly become very real and terribly sad.

    My thoughts and condolences are with Glen’s family and everyone who knew him.

  3. Nancy Powell

    Hi John,

    Thanks for letting us know.

    I do believe that Life goes on, yet this news makes us pause and appreciate all that we have.

    Thanks for reminding us that relationships are fragile.

  4. Bill Ellis

    John, my condolences on the loss of your friend…and the other American patriots. Your book is a wonderful tribute to the SEALS. It’s a tribute to your writing as well that I feel I know Glen – and all of the SEALS – after reading most of the book. My prayers are with you and all of the military.

  5. Dixie

    “Some days it’s just harder than others.” Yes, it is. But without you to make stories like that come alive we would all be poorer. I honor every person who does what they do on the days when it’s the hardest. Like Glen. Like you.

  6. Amy Wells

    🙁 Sorry for the loss and grateful that you have forever captured these things about him, through your writing.

  7. Jean Kuhn

    I’m so sorry for your loss, and Brandon’s and Glen’s families loss. I am so grateful for Glen and Brandon,and all of our service people’s service. Glen paid the ultimate sacrifice so we could freely. Thank you for sharing this.

  8. Wes Morgan

    I can’t find the words…but wanted so much to let you know that this news touches so many. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Michael Dodds

    I’m grateful for Glen’s service to our country, and for his very great sacrifice. Thanks for putting a name, a story, and a personal connection to what could easily have been just another–if very disturbing–news story.

  10. Josephine Gross

    Sharing your sadness, grateful for each day we get to do our work, even with a heavy heart. May peace prevail on Earth.

  11. HeatherO

    Such a sad story…Another reminder that “freedom isn’t free”. I am grateful every day for those who serve and put their lives on the line to protect us.
    Thanks so much for sharing this story. You truly are a master storyteller 🙂

  12. Susie

    The pen is mightier than the sword. Love you for loving us!!!!

  13. jdmann

    Thank you all so much for your thoughts and words ~ also for those who commented on Facebook

    As I said there: feeling the connection with so many, from so many different places, social spheres, and contexts, somehow changes the nature of sadness, softening the sharp edges and undergirding the hurt with some sense of meaning. Many thanks, all.

    Glen’s brother shared this on Brandon’s personal site:

  14. Hannah Ineson

    So sorry John! I remember your talking about the book but did not realize the connection until I saw your post on FB. What a web we all weave – how few degrees of separation there really are among us all…a blessing he was in your life, and you in his.

  15. Kathryn/

    So sorry, John, for your loss. The Libya attack hit me hard, too. I’ve watched the revolution from the outset via Twitter. These folks were brave and wonderful to support the Libyan people in their fledgling democracy. So sad there are folks inside Libya who do not want to see that happen. New beginnings are hard.



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