A family legacy of proud military service
Anthony Doane grew up in a middle-class family in the small coastal town of Westover, Maryland.
He got good grades in high school, but he knew he wasn’t ready for college, so during his junior year he decided to enlist in the military.
Joining the Navy was an easy decision for Doane. His stepdad served in the Army, his Uncle Jake was in the Air Force and his Uncle Elliot was a lieutenant colonel in the Army.
“Growing up in a military family and around water, it just felt like a natural fit to join the Navy,” Doane said.
Doane joined Denver Water in 2004 and today works as an environmental compliance specialist, ensuring hazardous and nonhazardous materials are stored and disposed of properly at all of Denver Water’s many facilities and work locations. It’s a job that uses many of the skills he developed during his more than 15-year career in the Navy.
“The things I learned in my service, like the value of teamwork and the importance of planning ahead, I bring to my work at Denver Water every day,” Doane said.
In July 1978, two months after graduating from high school, Doane left Maryland for six weeks of basic training in Orlando, Florida.
“It was a real adjustment,” Doane said. “In the military, there are no suggestions — you do what you are told. You sleep when they tell you. You eat when they tell you. Not a single minute of your day belongs to you, and everyone is the same. Everyone has the same haircut, the same clothes, you march the same, you talk the same.
“It’s really quite amazing to see 70 to 80 recruits with different backgrounds and from so many different places coming together as a single unit.”
The first lesson he learned in basic training was the importance of teamwork.
“When you’re on a ship you have to work together. There’s no room for conflict. It’s critical that you work as a team,” Doane said.
After basic training, he headed to Millington, Tennessee, where he spent three months learning the ins and outs of his job as an air frames power plant mechanic, responsible for inspecting all structural aspects of the planes before and after takeoff to ensure they were flight ready.
With basic training and job-specific education under his belt, Doane was stationed at the naval air base in Lemoore, California, where he served as a sailor on the 200-member VA25 Squadron, known as the “Fist of the Fleet.”
Over the next 15 years, Doane lived and worked on the USS Ranger, USS Constellation, and the USS Kitty Hawk, inspecting and repairing attack and fighter aircraft.
His span of military service included the Iranian conflict under former President Jimmy Carter’s administration, which ran from 1977 to 1981, to Desert Storm and Desert Shield in the early 1990s. His service also sent him across the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii, Guam, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Japan.
“The work was challenging, but I enjoyed it. I had time to study and work on courses to advance my career, and I made friendships that I still have today,” Doane said.
Though life as a sailor — confined aboard a ship for six to nine months at a time — can be difficult for some, Doane was able to find beauty and peace in his experience.
“It was amazing to see whales and dolphins just a few yards away. At night, I’d sit on the deck and look out at the bright moon reflecting on the water and feel the cool breeze blowing across the surface of the ocean. I found such tranquility in those moments,” he said.
After six years of active duty and nearly 10 years in the active reserves, Doane received an honorary discharge in 1996 and transitioned to civilian life, taking all he learned in the military into the next phase of his life and to his work at Denver Water.
In 1998, Doane married wife Paula, and they had two children: daughter Pavi-elle and son Raymon.
The family legacy of military service grew. Paula served 34 years in the Army and Army reserves, and Pavi-elle served four years in the Navy, stationed in some of the same places her father served two decades earlier, including Lemoore, California and Japan.
Doane believes his time in the Navy helped shape who he is today.
“It was one of the best decisions I have ever made,” he said.
“The military taught me maturity and discipline. It gave me structure, taught me the importance of punctuality and to plan. Most importantly, the military echoed a sentiment that my mother instilled in me as a boy — representing myself with pride.”