From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

John Doherty '66

Date of birth: December 20, 1944

Date of death: July 2, 1967

Age: 22

Lucky Bag

From the 1966 Lucky Bag:


From Honor States:

Operation Buffalo (2–14 July 1967) was an operation of the Vietnam War that took place in the southern half of the Demilitarized Zone, around Con Thien.

On the morning of 2 July, Alpha and Bravo Companies, 1st Battalion 9th Marines made their way up north on Highway 561 and secured a crossroad as their first objective.

As they went further north between Gia Binh and An Kha, near a place called "The Market Place", they made contact with the elements of the NVA 90th Regiment when sniper fire began to break out, enemy fire intensified as efforts were made by the 3rd Platoon to suppress it.

The NVA used flamethrowers in combat for the first time setting fire to hedgerows along Highway 561 forcing the Marines out into the open, exposing them to artillery, mortar and small arms fire, causing heavy casualties on A and B Companies and prevented them from linking up. B Company Headquarters was wiped out when a single NVA artillery round exploded within the command group. The company commander, Capt. Sterling K. Coates, two platoon leaders, the radio operator, forward observer and several others were killed.

John was that forward observer.


From the November 1967 issue of Shipmate:

2nd Lt. John W. Doherty, USMC, was killed in action at Quang Tri, Vietnam, on 2 July. Services were held at St. James Church in Red Bank, N. J., on the 18th, with interment in the family plot at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Valhalla, N. Y.

Lt. Doherty, who was born in New Jersey, was graduated from the Naval Academy in 1966. He was a member of the Fourth Company and, after reorganization of the Brigade, served with the Sixth Company, including a term as company sub-commander. He trained with the Y.P. Squadron for two years; was on the Superintendent's List for several terms, and acted as Company representative to the Newman Club.

Following graduation, Lt. Doherty volunteered for and completed training at the Paratroop School at Fort Benning, Ga. Upon completing the Marine Officers' Basic School at Quantico in January of this year, he received the Col. William H. Lemly Award for the highest honors in his class in academic subjects. He then had artillery training at Fort Sill, Okla., and in April was assigned to the 12th Marine Regiment in Vietnam. At the time of his death he was serving as an Artillery Forward Observer with Company B, 2nd Battalion of the Ninth Marine Regiment in the vicinity of the Demilitarized Zone.

He is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Paul E. Doherty of Red Bank, N. J.; two brothers, Paul E. Doherty, Jr. of Red Bank and Corp. Richard T. Doherty, USMC, of Camp Lejeune, N. C ; two sisters, Mrs. Joseph P . Sullivan of New York and Mrs. Martin Kotch of Syracuse, N. Y.

He is buried in New York.


From Wall of Faces:

Your spirit endures. Doe, I think of you often, and the magic times in high school with Jimmy B. and Kenny C., as kids who thought war was fun. It wasn't. Thank you for the good times, and thank you for your conviction that it was important to go there and serve. Would that we could have shared company and family memories as old men. JIM CREUTZ, 4/29/02

From The Wall USA:

Doc Doherty was the first upperclassman to befriend me when I was a plebe at the Naval Academy. He had the respect of all who knew him. This comment is just to express the gratitude of so many of us for his service and sacrifice. Bill Weathers,, May 26, 2012

"Doc.," Doherty, Jerry Bennett and I were, in the same, Marine officer's class, at Quantico and in the same, artillery class, at Ft. Sill, OK.. We went to Vietnam, together and were assigned, to 2nd, Battalion, 12th, Marines, at Chu Lai. We were all, to be assigned, as forward observers, with different 105mm, batteries, of the 12th, Marines. When called before the colonel, for this assignment, the colonel said, that he had, three batteries. Delta, battery, at Khe Sanh, Fox, battery, at Con Thien and Echo, battery, at Chu Lai. He added, that it, was up to, the three of us, to decide, who went where. We all reached, for coins and flipped, for Delta, Battery, at Khe Sanh. Doc., Doherty won. It was now, left, to Jerry and I, to flip for Fox, battery, at Con Thien. We flipped and I lost again. Jerry chose, Con Thien and I was shipped, to Echo, battery, at Chu Lai. One month later, Jerry Bennett was killed, by a hit, on his bunker, by an 85mm, recoiless rifle. One month after Jerry, Doc., Doherty, was with Bravo, Company, 1/9, as a forward observer and was killed, while being overrun, by a North Vietnamese battalion. I miss my friends, to this day and feel guilty, that I lost, the toss twice. God, grant you peace, for your ultimate sacrifice. Semper Fi! Bob Barclay,, November 30, 2001

Related Articles

Michael Odening '66 and Leland C. Sage '66 were also in 6th Company.

Sterling Coates '61 was commanding Bravo Company; he was killed at the same time as John.

Class of 1966

John is one of 36 members of the Class of 1966 on Virtual Memorial Hall.