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Combat Story

Oct 25, 2020

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Chris Baity is a former Marine K-9 handler who served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

During his career in the Marine Corps, he helped pioneer and shape dog handling tactics and training, not just for the Marines, but also joint efforts across the military. As a military working dog handler, he supported ground units throughout combat theaters, including trojan horse operations with sniper teams and door-to-door house clearings.

In one instance, Chris and his dog uncovered a weapons cache in a scene eerily similar to one depicted in the book and movie, American Sniper.
Chris and his wife Amanda went on to found the hugely successful Semper K-9, a non-profit that rescues dogs from shelters and trains them to be service dogs at no cost for disabled service members.

This special initiative has been featured in multiple outlets like People Magazine and the Washington Post. For his work, Chris was named one of the Washingtonians of the Year. Find out more at
Show Notes:

3:57 - In Okinawa during 9/11.
5:00 - Assigned to Henderson Hall, Marine Corps HQS. Helped create the dog program at HQS Marine Corps.
12:10 - Helped create the first joint kennel between Henderson Hall and Fort Myer.
13:15 - Offered slot in first mass K-9 deployments to Iraq.
15:41 - Signed up for Iraq after two cigarettes and a red bull (and without checking with his wife).
16:40 - Trust your dog, watch your dog, train your dog. Make sure your dog knows what he’s doing and you guide him. The dog’s nose was the spear.
17:40 - The dog’s paycheck.
20:10 - The role of the “spotter” in a dog team.
21:06 - “How do I pay my dog without setting of a bomb.”
23:40 - Chris’ first mission with Adam Cann, who was the first Marine military working dog handler to die since Vietnam.
25:20 - Chris’ first combat experience.
27:38 - First female dog handlers in combat.
28:54 - Dropped off in Korean Village in western Iraq with 2nd Marines, 2nd Battalion, Fox Company.
41:32 - Pushing hard core missions in Ar-Rutbah.
42:33 - First experience on “missions” using interpreters.
44:05 - Attached to sniper teams and trojan horse missions going into enemy territory with snipers.
53:00 - Chris’ first real find.
53:56 - First “oh shit” moment.
59:40 - Mentality of you’re probably going to die but you’re going to save the whole platoon.
1:02:54 - This dog is a gun and K-9 handlers had bounties on their heads.
1:09:38 - I was there for the paycheck and the fun.
1:20:10 - Description of the work at Semper K-9.