Born and raised in Elkhorn, Nebraska, Doug graduated from Elkhorn High School. After high school, Doug attended Midland University (then known as Midland Lutheran College), graduating in 1971. Doug was assigned his draft lottery number after his college commencements at which time he chose to enlist in the Navy. While Doug was stationed aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise, the venerable ship was ordered to operate in the South China Sea to support the refugee evacuation efforts in Vietnam.