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By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Stopping By: Brothers in uniform

It would be a good way to get an education and learn marketable skills, he thought. And he’d be following in the footsteps of his grandfather, retired Naval Chief Lawrence Redden.

But because his medical paperwork incorrectly showed he had asthma, the Navy turned him down. He was disappointed, but put military service out of his mind.

While working to raise college money, he took some classes at Chemeketa Community College. And he considered enrolling at The Art Institute.

Then his younger brother Tim, an EASA student who graduated in 2014, decided earlier this year to become a Navy recruit. 

That inspired Ben to try again. This time, he proved he had a simple allergy, not asthma, and was accepted as well.

The Lafayette brothers will say goodbye to their parents, Dan and Annette Dority, when they leave for boot camp this week.

Their father is an Air Force veteran, but both he and their mom are supportive of their sons’ Navy choice. “They’re excited for us,” Tim said.

The parents are a little nervous, too, perhaps. And the brothers certainly are.

But above all, they’re glad to be setting out together.

“The Navy has everything I need and like — math, physics, usable experience,” Tim said.

Not to mention, Ben said, “all the cool toys, like aircraft carriers.”

The brothers signed up for EASA in high school because they’re both interested in science, math and technology.

“Our dad’s in the computer industry,” Ben said. “That might have started it.”

He and his brothers played with Legos throughout their childhood. 

“When I was a kid, I reconstructed everything,” said Ben, adding that he’s always been good at math.

He would look through magazines and books about cars and planes, then use Legos to reproduce the pictures in three-dimensional form. As he gained knowledge, “my Lego builds got more detailed, more functional.”

He once built a combine with an electric motor that would spin the cutting blades. Their parents enjoyed watching it “harvest” the crabgrass, Tim said.

They still build elaborate constructions with the blocks. And at EASA, they joined the robotics team, which Tim described as “big Legos made out of aluminum.”

In robotics, he said, team members also could design and cut their own pieces. They could build robots and program them to perform real-work applications, such as moving or lifting objects.

The robotics team and the EASA classes, offered at the Evergreen Space Museum, satisfied Tim and Ben’s interests in math, physics and engineering. They learned to use computer-aided drafting.

In addition, they designed and built a Rube Goldberg machine, a device that uses an overabundance of functions to perform a simple task. “We figured out how to turn off an alarm clock using a bowling ball,” Tim said, relishing the memory.

Both he and his brother said they liked both the real-world construction and the chance to try things that EASA offered. “The freedom to learn through your mistakes is the most powerful way,” Tim said.

They also appreciated their teachers, especially Cyndy Robertson, Michael Roberson and Owen Griffiths.

While studying at EASA, the Doritys were thinking ahead about continuing their education. 

They knew they didn’t want to go deeply into debt to pay for college, and thought the military might be one answer.

Their grandfather recommended the Navy, in which he spent almost 25 years, or the Air Force. Both branches teach skills that transfer to the civilian world, he told them.

When he was a sophomore and his brother a senior, Tim started noticing the military recruiters who visited Mac High. He listened to what they had to say.

“I liked the Navy’s presentation,” he said. “What I heard from them were facts, things on the tech side.”

For instance, he recalled, the recruiter offered some interesting trivia, telling students they would receive more radiation from a banana than from being near a nuclear reactor for a year.

Many foods are slightly radioactive. The banana is the most, due to naturally occurring potassium in the fruit.

“So which do you want in your backyard, a banana tree or a nuclear reactor?” Tim asked. 

The Dority brothers enjoy trivia.

“Did you know that metal can burn?” Tim asked, giving another example of the myriad interesting facts he’s acquired. 

He and his brother also like video games, spending much of their free time playing Minecraft, Star Wars and other games. They enjoy science-oriented documentaries and TV shows such as “Mythbusters,” as well.

Ben spends some of his time studying Japanese culture. His interest was piqued by video games. He may someday use the knowledge when he’s developing video games himself, one of his longterm career goals.

He’s considering eventually using the G.I. Bill to study graphics and game design. And Tim is eyeing the same benefit.

First, though, they need to get through boot camp at Naval Station Great Lakes, near Chicago. Then they’ll spend about 18 months at a technical school to learn a nuclear-focused mechanical, electrical or computer specialty. After that, they’ll go on to advanced nuclear training.

Both have volunteered for nuclear submarine duty — just like their grandfather, who served aboard the Navy’s first nuclear-powered ballistic missile sub, the USS George Washington, along with two other subs.

“Not many people want that and qualify for it,” said Tim, 19. 

But he and his brother were drawn to that type of duty largely because fewer people serve on subs. An aircraft carrier might have 3,000 to 5,000 sailors on board, a sub about one tenth that many.

“I might get around to knowing everybody on my ship,” said Ben, 22. 

They probably won’t be stationed on the same sub, they said. “It would be fun to be with Ben, but the reality is it won’t happen,” Tim said. 

His brother joked, “I want to meet new people anyway. I’ve been with this guy for 19 years.”


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