Chris Kyle: A Tribute to the American Sniper
Happy birthday to “The Legend,” Chris Kyle, born on April 8, 1974 in Odessa, Texas.
One of the most revered warriors of the Global War on Terrorism, Kyle served four tours of duty in Iraq as a Navy SEAL and participated in every major American campaign, including the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Fallujah in 2004, Ramadi in 2006, and Sadr City in 2008. As a sharpshooter, his personal mission was to do everything in his power to protect his brothers-in-arms on the battlefield, a job he excelled at. Kyle is credited with more than 160 kills over the course of his deployments, making him the deadliest sniper in American military history. He was so feared by Iraqi insurgents that a $20,000 bounty was placed on his head at one point.
To the men he protected, Kyle was known as “The Legend.” The men he hunted had a much different name for him. With shooting skills so sharp that he once killed an insurgent 1.2 miles away on a single shot, a distance the length of roughly 21 football fields, it is no wonder why the enemy called him “The Devil of Ramadi.”
Chris Kyle's epic 1.2 mile shot depicted in the movie American Sniper, which is based on Kyle's autobiography of the same name.
Kyle would have continued to serve on the frontlines, but after a decade of service, he knew it was time to be there for his family. In 2009, he left the Navy with an honorable discharge. Over the course of his military career, Kyle had been shot twice and survived six improvised explosive device attacks. For his gallantry under fire, he was awarded a Silver Star and four Bronze Stars with “V” device for valor.
Suffering from the psychological wounds of war, Kyle struggled in his transition back into civilian life. One of the ways he battled back from those scars was by finding a new way to serve his brothers-in-arms. Just like he had done on the battlefield, Kyle became a guardian once again as a civilian, working tirelessly to help his fellow veterans recover from their own physical and psychological wounds. In 2011, he helped create the FITCO Cares Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing exercise equipment and counseling to veterans. The following year, Kyle published American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History. His book went on to become a major hit and was turned into a blockbuster film in 2014. Kyle donated his share of the book profits to the families of those who gave the last full measure of devotion and to a charity committed to helping wounded veterans.
Chris Kyle during the Iraq War. (Photo Credit: Official Chris and Taya Kyle Facebook page)
Part of Kyle’s mission was to spend time with and connect with troubled veterans at the gun range. On February 2, 2013, that commitment tragically robbed the world of Chris Kyle. That day, Kyle had invited a former Marine who was struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) down to the range. It was there that the troubled vet ambushed Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield, killing them both. Kyle’s murderer was later convicted on two counts of capital-murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole. As Taya Kyle went on to write, her husband “was cruelly murdered by a man he was trying to help.”
At only 38 years old, Chris Kyle was taken from our world far too soon, but his legend continues to live on strong. There are many veterans who got a second chance at life because of his watchful eye on the battlefield and beyond. There is no doubt that he continues to watch over his brothers-in-arms from the Kingdom of Heaven. As Kyle said, “It was my duty to shoot the enemy, and I don’t regret it. My regrets are for the people I couldn’t save: Marines, soldiers, buddies. I’m not naïve, and I don’t romanticize war. The worst moments of my life have come as a SEAL. But I can stand before God with a clear conscience about doing my job.”
Fox News: Tara Kyle: The 'American Sniper' Legacy Continues.
History.com: The Real-Life Story Behind "American-Sniper."
Military.com: Special Operations Forces Profile - Chris Kyle.