I first met Chris at SEAL Team THREE where we were both stationed, he was this big quiet guy who was all American and all Texas. Our paths crossed a few years later when he was a student at the SEAL sniper course; at the time I had just transferred to the program as an instructor. Chris was a great student, who was personally mentored by a good friend and fellow SEAL sniper instructor, Eric Davis. Eric wrote a great tribute to Chris that you can read here.
How did this happen? He was mentoring a Marine with severe PTSD, they went shooting together and the guy snapped and shot Chris. It’s tragic, especially given the circumstances and his deep love for helping his fellow American Veterans. Chris was successful in life after the Teams and he could have retired to his ranch and lived a quiet life. Instead he chose to be exemplary in all actions towards raising awareness for Veterans causes close to his heart. He’s a hero to me for this, and I will never forget him for it.
It’s a strange thing to be in your thirties and experience so many of your friends vanishing.
I never knew his wife or family well, but I do know that they are true American heroes. They have sacrificed greatly, Chris spoke so highly of his wife for the sacrifice she made. We spoke in great detail of the importance of family and friends, AND the importance of all Veterans sticking together. Many in the public will want to help but please realize the pressure that the family is under, especially with the news media, they need time to mourn in peace. Be respectful of that.
A Note to News Media
If you’re news media reading this then be respectful of how you interact with the family. Some news media people get this and some don’t. Strive to be the ones that do. Me and my friends in the military know who the bad ones are, we pay attention and share it with each other. I received several emails from news media yesterday asking me, “Did you know Chris?…Can we talk?” Five seconds on Google and you would have known that we were friends, teammates, and done projects together. Give the situation the respect it deserves, especially when it comes to dealing with his family.
A Note to America
Let’s take the high road, and choose to honor and respect an American Hero regardless of your political or Second Amendment beliefs. It disturbs me that people are celebrating his death and politicizing this tragedy. How we act in tough times is a measure of true character. Chris is an American who dedicated the greater part of his life to this country. We owe him, and his family, a massive debt, and we should honor them however we can.
See you on the other side, brother.