First of all , when it comes to Honor, Courage, and Commitment I would like to share an emotional story with you I’ve been telling myself for too long. The Navy “Chief Thief” story.
How our minds can repeatedly trick ourselves, if we let it. A story about a young Texas kid turned very proud United States Navy Chief who called himself a “Thief” until he intended to commit suicide during March of 2016 in downtown Seattle, WA when he felt completely helpless.
A mind is a terrible thing to waste. It’s 2:49 am in Puyallup, WA. About 40 miles out of Seattle. As I sip on my 3rd cup of coffee, thanks Phat Boy. What I’m about to share with you is very personal to my family and I. It’s however very neccessary. Thanks to a small group of Cowboys fans in my Facebook group who recently inspired me to share part 2 of this. I want to thank each of them personally here, right now. Their comments ultimately inspired me to share the other half of my story. I love each of you. You were my Angels God sent to give me the strength to display Honor, Courage, and Commitment.
“I admire your courage and strength to share Barry Gipson. Your testimony might just save a life!! The Navy has a way of fucking all of us up unfortunately. I’m always here for ya old shipmate!” Amber Thomas
The Dallas Cowboys fanbase, and social media have been THE one therapy which gave me the ultimate courage to share this with you. Refelcting back 34 years of my life since age 11, up unto the tipping point stressor recently opening the flood gates at 45. Thank you Julio for being you on Facebook. Watching you, I vicariously lived through you as a Chief onlinebefore my court martial. My VA counselor encouraged me to stop telling myself this “Chief Thief” story, and share it with all of you here. After 8 weeks of counseling this was the shiny object of all my pain and torture I’ve put myself through. Mentall illness is real.
I bare my soul with you today. Remember, I compartmentalize shit. I lied , cheated, and stole since age 11. As a result, hurt the one who means the most to me. My wife Stevie is dealing with this real time also as she has too recently learned the untold details. My 3 year tour in Oklahoma actually provided the stage for the perfect storm on too many levels in my life.
View this post on Instagram
26 years ago on April 21, 1993 I enlisted in the @usnavy. Here I am pictured with my late father David after 🛫 home from bootcamp from San Diego, CA. 🌊 It’s the first time I have ever 👀 this 📸 to date today.🤯 📸 are worth a thousand words. My father was also an Army veteran of 4 years. We were in the parking lot of Whataburger in Austin, TX somewhere. 🙏 🙏 I was very fortunate my cousin Jamie in Rosebud, TX was going through old family 📸 tonight. She was very close with both David and my mother Grace. 💙 💙 In addition, she found some other 💎💎💎 I wanted to share with you tonight. The 2nd was a news paper clipping from the Taylor Daily Press. The 3rd was a photo from a HS 🏀 playoff game against Schulenberg, TX HS. Lastly, you can clearly see my Cowboys affinity early on in my youth baseball years. 🤘 Thank you cousin Jamie for bringing a 😀 to my face tonight, and allowing me to share with all of you.
It’s opportunity that makes the “Chief Thief”
Once upon a time back in 2012 my family and I resided in Rock Creek Estates in Moore, OK. I was a Navy Chief attached to NRD Dallas. I ran a region of Navy recruiters who covered about 30% of the state of Oklahoma between 4 seperate offices with 25 Sailors. My fellow Chief brother Ted Alexander, and all those squared away Sailors in their White’s on the cover photo was actually taken at Langston University Thanks Ted, for making that connection. We essentially covered 1/3 of that state’s processing of Navy applicants. The Marathon Continues.
It was a challenging tour of duty. One where many motivated young Chief’s before me have went, and died a career death also. I wasn’t scared of the challenge. I sought after it actually. My father David was actually born not to far from where our house was located in Rock Creek. My grandmother Velma still lived there right near SW 44th ST in OKC. The same house where my grandfather Stanley, (David’s father) died in his sleep as an alcoholic. A few years ago Velma also gained her wings.
This was the first geographical tour I have ever served in that I previously lived before enlisting. Everything was off to a great start after arriving. Until about 8 months into my new role. I was relieved of duty for continually not “Making Goal.” As a result I bounced around a few months between some offices. Finally, actually Anchoring in one of the 4 offices of Sailors I actually lead in Edmond, OK previously. The same office that I worked out of as the Divisional LCPO. I happen to have a small suboffice that was mine prior to demotion. Now I’m working right oustide of my old office. The worst kind of picture you can imagine.
View this post on Instagram
When opportunity comes knocking will you answer?
Not to mention the First Class Petty Officer (E-6) at that time who replaced me was a paygrade lower than I. In Navy Recruiting Dallas you can often find scenarios where higher ranking Sailors like a Chief would report to those more junior. Rarely to Second Class Petty Officer as E-5’s. Not in this particular case for either. My direct report the “ACR” lived by the “I will Show You how tough I am” culture. A culture where drug deals were made behind closed doors over Sailors careers. Like mine was.
Furthermore, had I done my job more effectively by “Making Goal” maybe I wouldnt be in this position. Right?
While in my new demoted role I did what I could to adapt personally, emotionally, and financially. I drank Vodka every day, and night. All by my lonseome I might add. Searching for the opportunities for me to bounce back at work, and trying to remain competitive for advancement again in the future. Not to mention how awkard shit was now in the office, not only for myself, but the “New Guy” too. A drunk emotional bomb that could set off any minute. Thoughts of suicide began coming in. But I held it. Now fighting to live each day was a new job.
Dave May, remember when I told you in the office that day “Now my new role here, and reason for this firing was to do everything I could to get you advanced to Chief Petty Officer?” Two or 3 years later I believe that actually happened. He and I talked 1 time briefly while he was in Minnesota. Only about him however, nothing with me. I was still attempting to Anchor Up despite the situation becuase I knew Sailors were keenly watching how I would respond to my demotion. Dealing with depression, post traumatic stress now, high blood pressure, and hypertension.
A few months later I volunteerd for a big role (collateral duty) that involved managing money. Thousand’s of dollars each year to fund (MWR) morale and welfare fucntions. Hind sight says that was a not a good idea emotionlly. Above all financially. The firing turned into resentment, isolation, guilt, shame, and depression. Marital problems thickened. This lead to anti-establishment like behavior. It didnt help that during our family relocation from San Francisco to Oklahoma that our family budget changed drastically.
Uprooting my wife and family from CA while her being employed, to unemployed and in college at ITT in OKC to become a registerd nurse. Transferring my GI Bill to her was my single best investment ever. We made it initially on her school loans financially to make ends meet. At work I was bouncing back as the smoke cleared. At home however was a different story.
Over time I was a “Chief Thief” in the night. a total of $7,500 over a 2 year period. Primariliy to keep our family afloat financially after all the school loans ran out. My wife thought I was winning all this money at a Casino on Interstate-35 during my travels between OKC, and DFW where HQ was located. The real problem was I was good at hiding shit from people. I began operating as a Lone Wolf at at age 11. After my sister Cheryl died in 1985, and I grew up the only child.
How fate stopped me from passing the buck
Over 2 years I cooked the books, and hid those records. Which I still have in my posession currently. I buried them where I could only find them. In my garage. I kept telling myself I would pay it all back when I was in position. Never happend. It was becuase my lack of money discipline that got me here to beginwith. I lacked the neccessary Honor, Courage, and Commitment to do the right thing by asking for help. For those not familiar with the Navy this will be hard to make some sense. I have successfully isolated my life locked inside a compartment of the ship only I can find. Stowed away in a seabag locker. Deep within the bowels of the ship ‘s hull.
I had total control, at least I thought.
When it was time to transfer I tried to pass the “Shit Sandwich” onto a fellow Chief, and brother. I’m sorry Ron Dieg, your boy had problems brewing “Big Tyme.” Did I mention not 1 person within the entire command knew about my actions? How about the fact I never told my wife until it was almost too late? I took all the bank records with me when I left Dallas to ensure no evidence was found, physically.
Ron ended up passing the duties onto another “Fleet Chief.” Once he began to peel it back, he did what a real Chief should have done. Anchor’ed Up and fixed the shit. After about a year or so of them investigating me there at NRD Dallas while I was here in Seattle in my new role shit got even more real. Here I was carrying all this mental baggage of mistakes, shame, and guilt which turned into a deep depressive state. My family never knew I was in a sunken place. Compartmentilzation.
Ask for help? Not me, I was to proud. I isolation from help was my specialty. I have been doing it since age 11 when my 7 year old sister died of heart problems. Something my parents fought about for years aftwerard on who’se fault it was. It was both of theirs. Like I ignored my problems, they too felt they knew more about her health at the time. A problem years later that still affects me becuase I never grieved her death either. Until May of this year when I self admitted to the VA for help on the matter. I had no where else to turn. I couldnt perform at work now as a result and every day I crossed the Tacoma Narrows bridge driving into Gig Harbor, WA. I was 1 jump away from committing suicide each day. Just like jumping off the platform at basic training. Arms and feet crossed to lessen the impact of more than a several hundred feet fall into the Puget Sound.
Reflecting back, I always pictured the bridge falling apart while driving accross it. Litte did I know the meaning o f this until now. Each day. Essentially daydreaming this before going to knock on complete strangers doors to sell cable over the last 2 years. It was through all of this, and the ability to make over $100k doing so, that not even money could make the pain go away. Not even our first family vacation ever to Tarpon Springs, FL.
It was July of 2015 when I was informed by my mentor at the time the cat was out of the bag. Now the real stress kicked in. Drinking more and more. Staying up late trying to figure a way how to beat the charges. I should have just simply reached out to the Mess in Dallas. It was literally a toxic Mess though. One with it’s own very serious fraternization problems with my direct report as the ring leader. This was all in the open of the entire command that went unchecked. It created issues among those who silently knew in the Mess, but never said anything to check it. But I didnt even trust my own self. How could I trust another brother or sister in this circus?
I had lost touch with my foundation of Honor, Courage, and Commitment. The United States Navy Core Values. As a result I now called myself “Chief Thief.” A story that I kept telling myself until this May. Thank’s to a VA counselor who helped me identify this emotional stressor. He is the reason I am sharing this. Thank’s Sam. After all, this site is about Dallas Cowboys fans right?
View this post on Instagram
My military spouse @stevieg_rn deserves all the credit.🎖 Her 💙 and unconditional support was the difference in my 23 year career.💪 I want to say a special “Thank you” to all the veterans and especially their spouses this Veterans Day.🍻 #veteransday #militaryspouses #leadership #comcastcowboy #iworkforcomcast #hiringourheroes
Do the time for the crime “Chief Thief”
Not a day went by I didnt think about this shit sandwich I was carrying around. Every day a prisoner of your own mind is a dangerous fucking place. Trying to unfuck this whole thing. I couldn’t trust myself which prevented me from trusting others like my brother in Christ Julio Campos. A Navy Chief still serving on active duty whom I had the distinct pleasure of blaming all this shit on. Shenanigans. See my video below. A Lone Wolf wolf I was with a set of Anchors. All my miltiary veterans know exactly what this term means.
I recieved the dreaded call from my mentor T. I was actually in the WA state capital at a fantasy football hearing with State leadership at the time. Plans to open a fantasy football theme sports bar was my dream after retiring. I drove from Olympia to Seattle, and was read my rights by my Commanding Officer along with the XO, and Chief Recruiter. Now the window was closing fast. This was mid November 2015.
I was set for Court Martial in February of 2016 in Bremerton, WA at the Naval Base. Two of my recruiters from Tacoma drove me to court martial across the Tacoma Narrows bridge to Bremerton. Literally wishing the bridge would collapse as we drove across. With a packed seabag ready for a 30 day brig stint. It was very important for me to link that results page Many days I would Google myself to see how may pages deep that link was. Hoping it would never surface and fall off the internet. My worst fear was to become a social media influencer in our fan base. You know how the story goes, then all the dirt comes out because you are the shiny object. Not on my watch!
I fully repaid evey dime of the $7,500 by taking ownership. I was no longer running from myself I said. When I told my wife, she seen no fault in my eyes days before. She knew exactly why I did it and told me all I had to do was tell her. It was both of us in the fight at that point. Ride for me in my darkest hour, and I ride with you for eternity. I love you Stevie. We was On the run.
She has always felt in competition with my blogger lifestyle. She was the first one to send me to back to back playoff games last season in 2018. One in which we beat her team, the Seahawks. She still does feel the competition, but understands it’s my outlet now. God, thank you for my rib. Shit is so much easier when you talk about it with others.
Preparations to be locked up in the brig for 30 days laid ahead. I was ready to do the actual time for the crime to bury this “Chief Thief” story of mine! Little did I know I’ve been doing time in my own mind the whole time until now. The mind is a trerrible thing to waste. Bang!
View this post on Instagram
This signed @dallascowboys 🏈 was a gift to me in 2011. Given by a group of DEP Delayed Entry Program Sailors in Edmond. OK. They knew how much the Cowboys meant to me because that’s all I still talk about to this day. 🤘 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 Since 2016 after I retiring I have been in a battle with depression. It has ruined my family along with myself. 🗣🗣🗣🗣🗣🗣🗣🗣🗣🗣🗣 Today I openly admit my struggle and battle with childhood depression/ #ptsdawareness #ptsd Please click my bio 🔗 for The first half of my story from discovering the root and then what later triggered the tipping point for part 2. ⚓⚓⚓⚓⚓⚓⚓⚓⚓⚓⚓ @usnavy 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏 “If you breathing you achieving.” ⏰⏰⏰⏰⏰⏰ #navy #navyrecruiting #nrddallas #bigd #navychiefnavypride #chiefseason #builtbyfansforfans #cowboysnation #dallascowboys #americasteam #wedemboyz #dallas #cowboys #HotBoyz #ClockInD #hardhittahz #themovement #lifestyle #4theculture #suicidal #depression #ptsd #veterans #mentalhealth #plantsoverpills #seattle #washington #texas #thrall
How to not conduct Navy Suicide Prevention
I went to court martial in Bremerton,WA and was fortunate to not get any brig time. I was reduced in rank from Chief Petty Officer to First Class Petty Officer. I cried giving my testimony to the judge that dreadful day. I had others write statements on my behalf. Another mentor named Harry White called in and spoke to the judge on speaker at my court martial. He was the first one I had to actually verbally tell my truth to on the phone that was stationed there in OKC also. You were the example I could not emulate Harry at the time. Thank you for being you. It helped more than you know through all this.
I specifically made a point to apologize to the Chief’s Mess during my oporrtunity to speak to the court before judgement. To those few Genuine Chief’s that were present thank you. Only one of which I actually knew personally. I had to be reolocated again in position as a result of this. My CO wanting to publicly embarrass me even further and prop me up as an example of a toxic Chief’s Mess. Not to mention having to change my whole uniform wardrobe. How embarrasing it was to come in to work one day in your Anchors, the next in a your peanut butters.
It aint gonna happen Chief. That’s when I felt helpless with no other options. I verbally told my Commanding Officer, Executive Officer and Chief Recruiter to their faces I was about to jump off the balcony head first and kill myself. They all laughed in my face basically. As I began my exit mission they began yelling to grab me becuase now nobody wants to write a suicide message to their boss becuase a Sailor is dead on the streets in Seattle right in Front of a major local news network.
My mentor T snatched me up, and personally drove me to Madigan Hospital on Joint Base Lewis Mcchord where I was admitted to the psychiatric ward for 3 days. He was the same guy who came and picked me up and drove me home to my wife upon release. By the end of June 2016 I was a retired E-5 on paper. I was not afforded a retirement ceremony for obvious reasons either. Just a pink slip after 23 years. Not even a good bye, or thank you. Because of the black eye it caused my CO during the process from his boss, he found a way to bust me further to E-5 legally. I believe that was payback becuase my wife took a cab to hsi office and gave her a peice if her mind.
My wife never knew the whole truth to this point either because I left some out. Compartmentalizing, remember? I dont regret her taking a cab from Puyallup to Seattle to pick up my car left in the parking garage. While there she went in and made it a point to let them know whatever they did to me was fucked up beyond measure. Nothng like a black women angry and fighting for what she loves so dearly. But it was my isolation from everyone that made it worse.
That’s what I regret the most. I am sorry Stevie. You are the best thing that ever happened to me. I was just never able to give all of ME to YOU because I am still getting to know ME. It’s becuase of your strength, fight, determination and unyielding loyalty no matter what state I was in. When I isolated myself, I lost all my resources to help myself. My wife, mentors, the Mess, etc. Your mind is a terrible thing to waste. Boom!
How I became a blogger about the Dallas Cowboys fanbase
At this point I was like fuck the Navy, and what’s done is done. Man up mitherfucker you made your bed lay in it. I told myself this day after day. Time to move on to the next chapter. Right? Exactly. My parents both died within a span of a 12 months between 20017-18. Placing even more stress, and depression square into my life and marriage. Not to mention an extended family of 6 kids accross 2 states with 3 differnet women. Najiah, is a 10 year old I have never seen in the bay area of CA. Yeah, I been running from myself for too many years now. 3 deaths to grieve now, a young boy I have never seen, infedility, alcohol abuse, the list goes on……..
But then I was bitten by the blogging bug during this journey. An outlet within my comfort zone I found that provided a way for me to share my feelings through pubslishing content into a blog. The same office and desk I’m sitting at right now for 2 years, I toiled away learning all I could to keep my mind off my “Chief Thief” story. Little did I know that all that time invested in my office it would help provide the neccassary tools I needed to share this with you. You can learn alot by watching YouTube videos.
This is what motivated me to create a Facebook group in the name of community. A new sense of belonging had to come from anew soure not familiar with my story. Initially writing stories about Cowboys. if ow my blog you can see the story unfold in my language and context over the span of most of my content here.
View this post on Instagram
Join the 1st ever “Legacy 🏈Group” for this upcoming NFL season 2017. 🖱🔗in bio📲 #officialamericasteam #cowboysnation #dallas #dakprescott #ezekielelliott #dezbryant #legacygroup #joinourgroup #followus #dcfranchise #dcbluestar #dcempire #cowboysuniverse #cowboys4life #cowboyshit #americasteam #dallascowboys Tag a #Cowboys fan!
Isolating yourself from the Chief’s Mess, or even as a human being from others is something you cant do. Especially in time of struggle. Please dont use my map. It has far worse impact emotionally on those you love the most. I felt like everyone who knew me on Facebook in the Navy knew about this “Chief Thief” story I keep telling myself. Not like the stories I write about Dallas Cowboys fans which have helped me heal through building new, and healthy relationships.
This is how I know it was meant to be. On August 21 last week I opened up to my group and it’s members publicly with this post, and became the most vulnerable I have ever been in my life.
Unknowingly I posted it 2 days before my fathers birthday August 23. He would have been 67. It’s like his death was the missing peice of this story to trigger my emotions. But I chose to hold those emotions down last year also. Neither David or Grace ever knew I was suicidal, and locked up in a mental health ward. They both died in the same apartment nearly 3 feet from one another. Oblivious to the fact about their son while residing in Kennewick, WA 240 miles east from Puyallup. They will never know my story. They are my story.
I feared the worst. I was shaking and crying typing it out. Looking up from my computer at the pictures of my father in my office window. Along with my Charge Book. The last picture he took before he died. Little did I know I found out it was the one thing holding me back from real peace and healing in my heart. My wife thought I was just lying about everythng the whole time becuase she has never seen me this weak and vulnerable. Once she watched the video on my blog post about my parents she finally realized I was broken within. That’s when it all became clear. Thank you Dak for your message of #FAITH.
Communication is always our greatest challenge
Now it was time to reach out to one partiuclar “Chief” Brother who also happens to be a Dallas Cowboys fan. I reached out to him becuase something told me he was the one. I was present during his transition period while at NRD Dallas. He carried the weight of a brother on his Anchors without even knowing it, back then. Julio, a Navy Chief is currently in Florida staioned onboard The USS Milwaukee. After speaking with him last Sunday, and admitting my guilt, shame, and embarrassment to him we both came to the conclusion that this wall all pre-ordained from then man upstairs himself, God.
A fruitful exchange between old friends who have not talked or seen each other since 2014. His first words were, “Damn you still sound the same.” Within the first minute I was in tears. I need healing and this admission was the first step. Since visiting my VA counselor it was more easier there. He was a stranger. It hels. Actually bringingt me to this point. The hard part about it all is very confusing. It’s not about being called, or recognized as a Chief.
“The only thing more exhausting than haveing a metnal illness is pretending like you dont.” ~Unkown
When your use to walking around wearing a mask with all those emotions pinned up inside it gets easier to hide other issues. Once you release it all verbally, and become completely honest with yourself it becomes easier at first. However, now you are damaging those you love around you with your secrets you held inside for years. 11 years to be exact. I will face it head on now. An all out fight for my rib Stevie, and my kids. Remember this dates back to age 11, 1985 when I lost my only sibling Cheryl. I’ve always wondered what was so special about the number 11 in my life. I wore in every High School sport I played.
If you would like to not only follow, but help me draw monetary support to publish my book “Built By Fans For Fans” please click the button below and do what you like. This mental illness has provided the stage for us all, and now this blogging platfrom to share my story with the world.
Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall, Proverbs 16:18.
“The primary reason sailors don’t seek help is because there’s a desire in the fleet to handle it themselves, figure out their problems and solve it on their own. To ‘man up,’” Smith said.
Allow this “relevant proof” for any skeptics who stumble across my path