Army Ranger, fellow firefighters tell stories of heroism at funeral of National Guard soldier

A US Army Ranger-turned firefighter was remembered by comrades across the service spectrum on Tuesday, nearly two weeks after he was found dead in his sleeping quarters while on active military maneuvers at an Arizona Army National Guard base.

45-year-old Juston Doherty was a United States Army Captain who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning a Bronze Star, Combat Infantry Badge, Ranger Tab and other awards.

While he eventually left active duty to join the Phoenix Fire Department, Doherty remained busy with the Arizona Army National Guard.

“He was proud, professional, courageous, a caring father, a loving son, a devoted fiancé and a pillar of our community,” Phoenix Fire Chief Kara Kalkbrenner said during Doherty’s service yesterday.

To honor the Army Captain, Doherty was posthumously promoted to the rank of Captain within the Phoenix Fire Department.

“Juston was mere months away from being promoted to a Phoenix fire captain, a well-deserved distinction earned by our finest,” Kalkbrenner said. “I am honored and proud to announce that effective July 6, 2018, one day prior to his tragic and untimely passing, the Phoenix Fire Department was able to secure that promotion.”

Those who knew him embraced his energetic approach to life, as well as his dedication to whatever task he had ahead of him.

“He attacked everything in life full-on,” said Ryan Felker, a football coach of a local community college and friend of Doherty. “That’s what I remember most about him.”

Doherty’s former comrade, SSG Andrew Bowers described him as a tried and true Ranger.

“Captain Doherty was a man who lived by the [Ranger] creed,” he said. “See, a US Army Ranger lives by his creed. There are four things that all soldiers live soldiers live by, and Juston embodied them. He always placed the mission first, he never accepted defeat, he never quit, and he never left a fallen comrade.”

Bowers then looked upon the crowd and asked, “does that sound like somebody you know?”

“As a US Army Airborne Ranger, he got the skills and the tactics, he gathered all that knowledge in a state of starvation and confusion..And then was expected to fight,” he added. “His job was simple: to dismantle, disrupt, destroy, and kill the enemies of the United States of America in close combat…And he loved his job.”

At the service, Kalkbrenner recalled how Doherty took it upon himself to improve living conditions for an elderly Vietnam veteran who was disabled and forced to live in squalid conditions. Using nearly a month of time and pay, he cleaned up the man’s house and made repairs.

“He did this not for recognition, but because he possessed genuine compassion for others,” Kalkbrenner said. “This is just another example of Juston’s many silent and unsung acts of compassion. That is the kind of man Juston Doherty was- a true American hero.”

According to KTAR News, Doherty was a father and was engaged to be married.

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