Right after high school graduation in Cupertino, California, Chris joined the Army. For the next eight years, he served and received specialized training. Chris was deployed to Panama for Operation Just Cause in 1989, to Iraq for Operation Desert Storm in 1991, to Somalia for Operation Gothic Serpent in 1993, and to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for a humanitarian aid mission in 1994. He was also deployed to other parts of the world including Honduras, Germany, South Korea, and Turkey. These experiences gave him a steadfast love of the most improbable experiment in human history – a Constitutional Republic founded on the self-evident truth that "all men are created equal; endowed by their creator with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
After his time in the Army, Chris moved to Tennessee and served as a member of the Knoxville Police Department. He received the “Top Gun” award in KPD’s Training Academy, and he became a member of the department’s elite Special Operations Squad (SWAT). His team was responsible for high threat operations like hostage situations and the capture of violent criminal suspects. During his time with KPD, he was chosen for specialized training from the FBI to acquire certifications for firearms instruction, sniper training, close quarters tactical combat, and high risk warrant service. In this experience, he understood what it meant “to protect and to serve” the community, and he carries with him a deep respect and appreciation for the law enforcement community.
After 10 years with KPD, Chris worked as a Department of State (DoS) contractor as an International Police Advisor in Afghanistan. He served as a Tactical Training Program coordinator in Kandahar, one of the country’s most violent and war-torn regions. The mission there was to train the Afghan National Police Force. In addition to intense firearms training for the Afghans, Chris coordinated site security plans and executed motorcade operations to and from venues as convoy commander. During this time he was also chosen to work side-by-side with a Marine unit, in the Helmand Province that met with Afghan village elders who would help them locate and disband Taliban groups. During his time in this war-torn area of the world, Chris was continuously reminded that “freedom is not free.”
After 2 years in his role as a Police Advisor, Chris worked for the U.S. Department of State’s Worldwide Protective Services. His training included certification as a Designated Defensive Marksman (i.e., DoS’s “gentler” term for sniper), and he received the Top Shot Award. In this role, he was deployed to numerous U.S. Embassies and Consulates throughout the Middle East, including Afghanistan, Iraq, and Qatar. There he provided personal security to diplomats, dignitaries, and Heads of State, including advance team and motorcade operations. He was also responsible for tactical site surveys for venues and tactical briefings for Department of State security personnel. This required intelligence-gathering, surveillance and counter surveillance operations, over-watch at designated venues, and development of defensive positions for the Embassy Base Defense Plan. While stationed at the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan on September 13, 2011, a group of Al Qaeda-backed militants with rocket-propelled grenades and suicide vests attacked the embassy and NATO headquarters. Chris learned on this and many other occasions that our enemies are determined not to “let freedom reign.”
In 2016, Chris decided to use his elite experience and training in a new and ominous environment – the corporate world. Working for a technology company that held several patents for virtual and live-fire weapons training systems, he found himself once again working with military and law enforcement personnel. He worked on a team that provided instruction and training on these sophisticated systems for all U.S. military branches and many large police departments like the Detroit Police Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office and the Hungarian Counter Terrorism Unit in Budapest. These systems allow for versatile and complete training applications such as weapons handling and safety training, marksmanship, tactical training, use of force training, and re-familiarization training. He also developed customized programs and courses for training on “shoot-don’t shoot” judgmental situations and advanced marksmanship. While the corporate world was exciting for a few years, he learned that “all that glitters is not gold” – and he found himself craving a simpler life at home with his family. His love of working with people on firearms safety and marksmanship led him on a new adventure – to start his own business, Southern Marksmanship.