Student Profile – Doug Moorehead (OB)

Doug Moorehead (OB) was born in Cambridge, OH, in 1974. His life has taken him on a world wide journey from the Naval Academy to Naval SEALs training to Iraq.

Doug’s grandfather was an officer in the Navy and fought in WWII, and his father was a pilot in Vietnam. While Doug felt like the military was always an option, he never felt pressured to join. When it came time to look at colleges, his parents showed him all of his options and let him choose. He chose the Naval Academy.

Doug has always been motivated by challenges. “If I knew I could do it, I didn’t want to do it. I just wanted the challenge of it.”

He spent the summer between his junior and senior year at the Naval Academy doing internships in the fields that he wanted to pursue upon graduation Doug thought that medicine would be challenging, but he also heard about a small part of the military called the Navy SEALs.

“I quickly learned that it wasn’t a bunch of lunatics but it was actually a very disciplined group of guys…It was challenging, it was interesting. I didn’t know if I could handle all of the cold exposure but it turned out to be a very interesting experience.”

Doug interviewed for the Navy Seals during the Thanksgiving of his senior year. He took a physical readiness test and went through an interview to see if he could be a SEAL. The Navy brought SEALs down from East Coast SEAL Teams, and they asked some situational questions to see if he would pick the easy way out.

Doug attributes the ease with which he was able to answer those questions to his upbringing and to 4 years at the Naval Academy. They wanted to see his personality type, his character, and his takes on leadership; they were looking for a disqualifier. They did not find one, and after Christmas he found out that he had made the SEAL team.

After graduation, Doug left for a 6-month Seal training program in Coronado, San Diego. The training is in three phases. The first 6 months they are trying to weed you out. This is all the movie stuff:

“Laying in the water, carrying the log, carrying the boats, running in the sand dunes, ocean swims, drown proofing with your hands tied behind your back.”

The hardest thing for Doug was the cold water. The temperatures they trained in were 45-50 degrees, but Doug said it was the duration of time they had to spend in the water that was the worst part.

During training the SEALs always have a big bell that hangs near by. If at any point a potential SEAL feels like it is too much he can ring the bell. This is called “ringing out” and they don’t just ring out of the training exercise. If the bell rings, they have “rung out” of the whole program.

“They would beat your body down to where physically you just can’t do anything anymore, but it was so easy to keep it out of my mind because you know physical strain they can only do so much. The people that did ring out let them get inside their head, and then of course as soon as that happens they’re truly done.”

The second phase includes technical skills like diving. They start with open circuit scuba diving, and then move into close circuit diving where you have to work for your air while doing other tasks under water.

After being beat down for two phases, they are built back up in the third phase. They were taught land warfare and learn mission planning. At the end of the third phase, Doug gained 20 pounds of muscle.

He graduated in February of 1997. His first tour was 4 months in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where he piloted a submersible. After Hawaii he did a 6-month deployment to the Persian Gulf out of Iran.

In the year 2000, Doug pursued a Masters Degree from the Department of Material Science and Engineering at MIT. He was working with researchers at MIT when 9/11 happened. Since he was a fully qualified field officer he went to Seal Team 2 in Virginia Beach in an operational role as a platoon commander.

“You join the military wondering what combat is going to be like. You don’t wish for it, but after 9/11 I wanted to serve.”

When he arrived in Iraq they had just started training the Iraqi forces. He was involved in that training and in searching for weapons. While Doug likes the idea of the Iraqi people being self-sufficient, he’s worried that they are not as passionate about the idea.

“I didn’t have a good feeling that they had a vested interest in being a self-sufficient country. The turnover was very high. We fed them, we gave them shelter, we gave them clothing. As a result, you wonder what their incentives were…I think it’s going to take significantly longer than the American people will be willing to wait. I hope so, I hope that they really put the pressure on the U.S. Government to turn it over to the Iraqis sooner rather than later.”

For his time in Iraq, Doug was awarded all the expeditionary medals tag heuer replica for sale , the combat action ribbon, and the Bronze Star with Valor. Doug was able to go home in October 2004, three days before his son Will turned 2. “I loved the military, but I didn’t see the next ten years being the mental stimulation that I really wanted. And it was by no means the family life I wanted.”

Doug eventually decided to get out, go to business school, and settle down. His wife Kevin was pregnant with their second child and he wanted to be around his family. He had looked into HBS when he was at MIT, and thought it would be a great opportunity.

During Hell Week, Doug rediscovered a passion for A123 Systems, a project he had worked on while at MIT. He performed his summer internship with them and enjoyed the experience He will be going back after graduation. He says he hopes he can find some of the challenge that he enjoyed in the military in his new career.

In his spare time Doug spends a lot of his time with his family. He says that his hobby is family. “I wouldn’t want it any other way. Time goes by so fast, you can see them get big so fast.”

March 5, 2007
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