“Dexter loved his family. He has 6 sisters and 4 brothers. His brothers were his best friends. He had a baby girl born to him when he was in the Marine Corps. The proudest day of his life was coming home to see her and to be a new Daddy. He wanted to be a hero. He loved music, writing songs, drawing, shooting, and he really loved eating, especially his mamma’s homemade food! When he was 16, he was overweight with bad feet, but he dreamed of becoming a United States Marine. He worked hard over the next few years to get into shape, in the process he became a full mechanic for Ford, got engaged to his baby’s mother, and was excited to sign up for Infantryman so that he could be where the action was and make a difference.
Dexter was incredibly patriotic. He read books about the founding of our country, about George Washington and other heroes. He wrote beautiful letters home from Parris Island – about the humility and pride he felt following in the footsteps of men of greatest honor. He honored God and gave him credit for making it through the Crucible. I was so proud that he achieved the dream of becoming a Marine.
As I’ve learned about his illness, it is most likely he began suffering as early as 8 years old…still he pressed on like a warrior to achieve his dreams and to hopefully be a good brother, son and Daddy. He was loyal to his family and even in his darkest times thought of helping others. After he was diagnosed with bipolar1 – schizoaffective disorder, his dream was to learn to speak publicly, write a book or set up a foundation that might help other members of the military who had their careers destroyed by mental illness. Dexter was a fighter. He was fiercely independent and until the demons overwhelmed him, not knowing what was happening, he continued to do his best and to dream. He had some very dark times after getting out of the Marine Corps, as he descended into a full onset and psychotic break that eventually took his life. I know he would hope that telling his story might help save another person’s life.
Around age 16 Dexter started exhibiting symptoms of a severe mental illness like severe depression & suicidal thoughts. He kept this to himself. It grew progressively worse as he got older. During his time as a Marine in training at Camp Pendleton he began hearing voices in his head, and to quiet them he started drinking heavily. He tore his ACL and was put on opioids which he self-medicated with to attempt to quiet the “demons”. He was hit hard with suicide ideation and realized he would be putting his Marine brothers at a huge risk if he continued to pretend there wasn’t a problem. He confessed his opioid addiction and received an honorable release. Soon after, he was diagnosed as 100% disabled with bipolar1 schizoaffective disorder, a severe and often deadly mental illness. His career being over and suffering from the loss of respect and control over his life and his dreams, he sunk quickly and it wasn’t long before he took his life with a gun.
He loved being a Marine. It was the dream of his life. I have absolutely no doubt if he’d been of sound mind he would have served a full career in the armed forces. He loved his brothers, he loved America, he loved the Constitution of the United States and wanted to defend her.” Shared by his mother, Rosie
Final Rest: Ketoctin Cemetery, Round Hill Virginia
#22toomany #OurHeroes are #NeverForgotten