The military’s mission is to protect the people of the United States. Fulfilling this purpose places servicemembers in various locations and situations. Through those travels and circumstances some servicemembers forge meaningful relationships. They become brothers and sisters, family. What happens when one of those brothers or sisters jeopardizes the mission?
“I love you like a brother but what you’re doing is wrong and completely irrational. All human life is equal”, said Champion. “When I took my oath, I swore to protect all life. Now after deploying and everything we’ve done together you’re coming to me with this? You’re putting me in this situation, in front of my family. You’re making me make this decision right now. I either let you walk out of here and risk other people dying out in the world or I report you.”
Army Sgt. Joshua Champion, an infantryman and combat sniper with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Calvary 8th Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, at Fort Hood, reported his best friend to authorities after he revealed plans to harm protestors and government authorities.
“We were best friends”, Champion said. “He held my first born. We deployed together. I spent the majority of my Marine Corps career with him. We were inseparable… there was nothing anyone could do to break us up. Our families got along. He was what I would consider a brother.”
Champion and his friend remained in contact over the years, after they both left the Marines, so the meeting was well received and not abnormal.
“He got out before I got out in 2017”, said Champion. “We stayed in touch. I’ve seen him once and recently he asked to come visit me. I told him my kids are getting older. They would love to see you. We’ll hangout, bar-be-que and relax for the weekend.”
Even though the meeting was a welcomed reunion, it didn’t take long for Champion to realize things were not normal.
“I started picking up on things”, Champion said. “I noticed he wasn’t the same person, but I decided to brush it off and see where things went.”
Despite Champion attempting to ignore the differences, things got more peculiar when his friend got into the pool and began talking to himself.
Champion inquired into his concern to no avail and as he was removing the steaks from the grill, his friend exited the pool.
“I took the steaks off and he was outside of the pool. I hadn’t even gotten in yet” said Champion. “I handed him a drink and he said I need you to teach me how to shoot. You have something I need. I see where the world is going, and I want to end everything that’s going on. I’m going after Black Lives Matters and I’m ending this. I’ve been looking up government officials addresses and I’m ending this.”
At that point Champion realized the gravity of the situation.
Champion didn’t inform his wife of the conversation. Instead he ensured his family was secure and protected away from his now former friend, as he took action.
“One of two things is going to happen” Champion said. “Either you’re going to get in a lot of trouble, or you aren’t going to make it out of my house. You’re going to cause problems with my morals and character if I let you walk out of here.”
Champion allowed his guest to sober up, but he fixed the in-home camera system upon of the room for the night then hastily removed him from his property the following morning.
“When he got up and was walking downstairs, he didn’t say bye” said Champion. “He got in his truck and stared at my house for 15 minutes, then drove off. That’s when I called the FBI investigator.”
Sgt. Champion placed his personal feelings aside and choose his oath of service, the safety of others and his country above his relationship with a man he considered his family, because he felt it was the appropriate thing to do.
“I was on the phone with them for hours and told them everything I knew”, Champion said. “I knew he could leave the area, find any protestor and do some damage. You look at all these incidents that could’ve been prevented but people didn’t report anything. I knew if he went out there and committed a domestic terrorist act, it would be on my conscience and I caused those people to not go home to their families. I fight for my family and my country. That’s all I care about.”