If you’d been a betting man and you were around when Chris was going through those early years of training, your money probably would not have been on his being the guy who would go on to become an outstanding operator. His spirit was Teflon, but this SEAL stuff did not come easy for him. 

Not long after 9/11, Chris and Randy’s platoon went into a given location in the Middle East to assess possible access points, in case it proved impossible to airdrop forces directly into landlocked Afghanistan. Randy was the platoon’s leading petty officer, so it was his responsibility to make sure everyone had all the right gear. After they finished their surveys and were preparing to pull out, Chris approached him on the beach. “Hey, Randy,” he said. “I, well… I lost my gun.”

“No way,” Randy said. That wasn’t possible. For a SEAL, there are few infractions as catastrophic as losing your gun. We would always, always have our sidearms strapped in, and we would always, always lanyard our guns, especially when we were going in the ocean.

Chris showed Randy his holster. No gun.

“Tell me you lost it somewhere here, right?” said Randy, gesturing up and down the stretch of beach.

Chris hung his head. “No, man. It’s nowhere on the beach. It’s gotta be in the ocean somewhere.”

Even aside from being a SEAL, Chris was an avid outdoorsman who had always loved the ocean. He would spend hours surfing the waves. The ocean was like his home. This was the last guy in the world you’d think would be unprepared for an op in the water. But the gun was gone.

There was nothing Randy could do to help Chris out here. As LPO he had to tell the platoon commander. He did. The commander went ballistic.