Veterans' Day Assembly Inspires Students

Jacqueline Pisani
In honor of Veteran's Day, Captain Mike Doherty, addressed the student body with his inspiring account of serving in the United States military. Doherty graduated with Merit from the United States Naval Academy in 1992, earning a Bachelor of Science in Economics. Highlights of his career include serving in Operation Enduring Freedom, launching the first aircraft off the RONALD REAGAN's ship catapults. He's served as Executive Officer of Patrol Squadron THIRTY, the Navy's largest aviation squadron and accumulated over 3,000 flight hours during his time as Naval Aviator.As Deputy Commander for Task Force 57 in Bahrain, he was responsible for all Maritime Patrol missions flying in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and Maritime Security Operations in the Middle East. Currently, he is the Commanding Officer of the Naval Academy Prepartory School.
Doherty shared several life lessons from his impressive career that resonated with the crowd. He related his punishing five week scuba diving training school where his instructors ripped off his oxygen mask while 15 feet underwater to toughen his resolve. After only 11 seconds without air, he embarrasingly surfaced. His instructors compelled him to continue with the training. Through this experience, Doherty understood that he had a mission to do. "Be positive." he said. "Only you can decide that you can do it."
While flying out of Panama in 1999 to patrol the flow of illegal drugs originating in South America, his crew was ordered to rescue a fishing boat with 19 people that had been missing at sea for 19 days. His second in command insisted that the mission was futile, that no one could survive at sea for that many days. Doherty took the challenge and scoured the surface to locate the missing. After five and half hours, the plane's radar picked up a ping of the missing boat. The missing crew was elated. "I learned that a positive attitude is infectious. You've got to keep going."
Lastly, Doherty urged the students to remain grateful of their support system, because these are the individuals that will sustain one another through tough times. The students engaged in a robust question and answer period to glean more inisights about Captain Doherty and questioned him about challenging missions and his core values. The most meaningful advice Doherty offered to the group was the power of humility. "We all have weaknesses. Look at what you're not good at, look inward, and practice to get better. It makes you approachable."
 
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