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Marine from Gig Harbor promoted in Afghanistan

Mom uses Web site to help ease worries of her son’s safety

Trish Doherty of Gig Harbor is a proud but worried mother of a U.S. Marine who is serving at the newly established Camp Barber in Afghanistan.


Published: 03:49PM August 13th, 2008

Her son, James Doherty, was meritoriously promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal, along with fellow Lance Cpl. Jason Claunch and Cpl. Peter Villanueva. The trio were the first Marines promoted at the new base, which officially was dedicated May 11.

Camp Barber was named in honor of Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Cpl. William E. Barber, who served with the 2nd Battalion 7th Marine Regiment during the Korean War. Barber was honored for leading his company in a desperate five-day defense of a frozen mountain pass that was vital to the Marine 1st Division’s breakout to the sea, according to his citation.

It’s that hero spirt that drew Doherty and three of his Gig Harbor friends to enlist in the Marine Corps last year.

Doherty started boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego last August and graduated as his platoon’s honor man on Nov. 7.

Trish Doherty was able to attend her son’s graduation in San Diego.

“I cried the whole time,” she said. “It was the proudest day of my life. Seeing all of those kids was awesome. They came in at 18, and then they were transformed.”

After completing his advanced training at the School of Infantry at Camp Pendleton, Calif., James Doherty was assigned to his first duty station in February at the Marine Corps Air to Ground Combat Center at 29 Palms, Calif.

In March, he and his fellow Marines were sent to Afghanistan.

Doherty was to be promoted to Lance Corporal this month, but he had proven to his ranking commanders that he was performing beyond expectations.

Although Trish Doherty is proud of her son, she still worries about whether he will return home safely.

“I go on marineparents.com, and that helps me get through,” she said.

Doherty added that her son has seen some of the awful aspects of being in a combat zone, but he has served honorably.

“He’s my boy wonder,” she said.