|Birth name||Christopher Scott Kyle|
The Devil of Ramadi
April 8, 1974|
Odessa, Texas, US
|Died||February 2, 2013
Erath County, Texas, US
|Buried at||Texas State Cemetery|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1999–2009|
|Rank||Chief Petty Officer|
|Awards|| Silver Star Medal (2)
Bronze Star Medal (Valor; 5)
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (1)
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2)
|Spouse(s)||Taya Renae Kyle |
American Sniper (2012)American Gun (2013)
Christopher Scott "Chris" Kyle (April 8, 1974 – February 2, 2013) was a United States Navy SEAL and the most lethal sniper in American military history with 160 confirmed kills out of 255 probable kills. These claims are based on individual shooter logs filled out at the end of a mission and reported by higher command. U.S. Special Operations Command treats sniper kill counts as "unofficial".
Kyle served four tours in the Iraq War and was awarded several commendations for acts of heroism and meritorious service in combat. He received two Silver Star Medals, five Bronze Star Medals, one Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals. He was awarded the Grateful Nation Award by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. Kyle claimed that Iraqi insurgents dubbed him the "Devil of Ramadi" and placed a bounty for his head. He was wounded twice, and was involved in six IED attacks.
Kyle was honorably discharged from the US Navy in 2009. He remained in the spotlight after leaving the Navy and wrote a New York Times bestselling autobiography, American Sniper. Kyle was shot and killed at a shooting range on February 2, 2013, near Chalk Mountain, Texas, along with a friend named Chad Littlefield. The man accused of killing them is awaiting trial for murder.
Kyle was born in Odessa, Texas, the son of Deby Lynn (Mercer) and Wayne Kenneth Kyle, a Sunday school teacher and a deacon. Kyle's father bought his son his first rifle at 8 years old, a bolt-action .30-06 Springfield rifle, and later a shotgun, with which they hunted pheasant, quail, and deer. After school, Kyle became a professional bronco rodeo rider and worked on a ranch, but his profession ended abruptly when he severely injured his arm. After his arm healed, he went to a military recruiting office, interested in joining the United States Marine Corps (USMC) with a special interest in special operations. Kyle signed up, but was rejected because of the pins in his arm. Kyle met with an Army recruiter next who told him about the Special Forces and the Rangers. A Navy recruiter told him about the Navy SEALs as he was leaving the recruiting office. After initially being declined, he received a call and he had the chance to go to BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL school), finally joining the Navy in 1999.
Assigned to SEAL Team 3, Sniper Element Charlie, later Cadillac, platoon within the Naval Special Warfare Command, and with over four tours of duty, Kyle served in many major battles of the Iraq War. His first long-range kill shot was taken during the initial invasion, when he shot a woman approaching a group of Marines with a hand grenade in her hand. As ordered, he opened fire, killing the woman before she could attack. He stated, that "the woman was already dead. I was just making sure she didn't take any Marines with her." 
Because of his track record as a marksman during his deployment to Ramadi, the insurgents named him Shaitan Ar-Ramadi (English: The Devil of Ramadi), and put a $21,000 bounty on his head that was later increased to $80,000. They posted signs highlighting the cross on his arm as a means of identifying him.
In 2008, outside Sadr City, Kyle made his longest successful shot, after he spotted an insurgent with a rocket launcher near a US Army convoy at a range of 2,100 yards (1.9 km). As recounted in his book American Sniper, Kyle fired a shot from his .338 Lapua Magnum-chambered McMillan TAC-338 sniper rifle, killing the insurgent from about 2,100 yards away. The fighter was about to launch a rocket-propelled grenade at the Army convoy.
During four tours of duty in Iraq, Kyle was shot twice and caught up in six separate IED explosions. His other weapons included the Mk 12 Designated Marksman Rifle, Sig Sauer P220 Pistol, M4 carbine and a .300 Winchester Magnum sniper rifle.
Kyle left the US Navy in 2009 and moved to Midlothian, Texas, with his wife, Taya, and two children. He was President of Craft International, a tactical training company for the US military and Law Enforcement communities. In 2012, Harper Collins released Kyle's autobiographical book American Sniper.
Kyle paired with FITCO Cares Foundation, a non-profit organization which created the Heroes Project to provide free in-home fitness equipment, individualized programs, personal training, and life-coaching to in-need veterans with disabilities, Gold Star families, or those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. On August 13, 2012, Kyle appeared on the reality television show Stars Earn Stripes, which features celebrities pairing up with a special operations or law enforcement professional who will train them in weapons and combat tactics. Kyle was teamed with actor Dean Cain.
Alleged confrontation with Jesse Ventura
In interviews with both the Opie and Anthony Show and Bill O'Reilly in January 2012, Kyle claimed to have punched former Minnesota Governor and Underwater Demolition Team member Jesse Ventura at a bar in Coronado, California in 2006 during a wake for Mike Monsoor, a Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient who had been killed in Iraq the same year. Kyle, who wrote about the alleged incident in his book but never mentioned Ventura by name, claimed that Ventura was "bad-mouthing the war, bad-mouthing (former President) Bush, bad-mouthing America" and that Ventura said the SEALs "deserved to lose a few guys". In a subsequent interview, Ventura denied that he was punched by Kyle, saying that he never met Kyle nor even heard of him. Ventura adamantly denied saying any derogatory remarks about the military. Ventura filed a lawsuit against Kyle for defamation in January 2012. After Kyle's death in February 2013, Ventura announced he would continue his lawsuit by adding Kyle's estate as a defendant.
The trial began on July 9, 2014. On July 29, 2014, after six days of deliberations, and upon the agreement of both plaintiff and defendant to accept a divided jury verdict of 8-2, the jury arrived at a divided 8-2 verdict in favor of the plaintiff, and awarded Jesse Ventura $1.8 million.
On August 8, 2014, U.S. District Judge Richard H. Kyle, no relation to Chris Kyle, upheld the jury's award of $500,000 in defamation damages and $1,345,477.25 in "unjust enrichment" as, "reasonable and supported by a preponderance of the evidence." Attorneys for Kyle's estate said that the defamation damages would be covered by HarperCollins libel insurance. The unjust enrichment award was not covered by insurance and will come out of Kyle's estate assets. Following the verdict, HarperCollins announced it would pull the Ventura story from all future editions of the book.
In a post trial interview, one juror said that the defense provided a confusing checklist of events. That there were multiple locations of where the alleged punch occurred from the defense witnesses, and that the defense witnesses were under the influence of alcohol at the time the alleged fight occurred. The juror also stated that by Kyle using a pseudonym for Ventura in the book was to keep it "under wraps", and that if it was true, then the juror thought Kyle should have used Ventura's name. As well, the juror found it compelling from photographs in the days after the alleged punch that Kyle, who was over 6 feet tall, over 200 pounds and in top physical shape, could punch Ventura, who was on blood-thinners, knocking him to the ground and not leave a facial mark.
On September 4, 2014, Attorneys for Taya Kyle, as executor of the estate of Chris Kyle, filed a motion for renewed judgment as a matter of law or a new trial with the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota. On September 26, 2014, Attorneys for Jesse Ventura filed their reply to motions from Kyle's estate, that stated Ventura had proven Kyle's story was "materially false", that there was sufficient evidence for the jury to find "actual malice" and that there should not be a new trial. Attorneys for Taya Kyle, as executor of Chris Kyle's estate, had until October 3, 2014 to file a response to Ventura's response to the motions, but had not done so. Judge Kyle will decide if he wants to either hold a hearing or decide based on the briefs filed. This motion needs to be ruled on before an appeal to a higher court can begin.
On Saturday, February 2, 2013, Kyle and a companion, Chad Littlefield, were shot and killed at the Rough Creek Ranch-Lodge-Resort shooting range in Erath County, Texas by 25-year-old fellow veteran Marine Eddie Ray Routh, whom Kyle and Littlefield had purportedly taken to the gun range in an effort to help him with what they were told by his mother was post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Local police captured Routh after a short freeway chase, which ended when Routh, who had left the scene of the shootings in Kyle's Ford F-350 truck, crashed into a police cruiser. Routh was arrested just before 9 p.m. the same day in Lancaster, Texas. Erath County sheriffs said the motive for the killing was unclear. Routh, from Lancaster, was arraigned February 2, 2013, on two counts of capital murder, according to Sgt. Lonny Haschel of the Texas Department of Public Safety. He was taken to the Erath County Jail for holding under a $3 million bond. Routh's trial was set to begin May 5, 2014, but was delayed to allow more time to comply with DNA test requirements.
A memorial service was held for Kyle at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on February 11, 2013. Kyle was buried on February 12, 2013, in Texas State Cemetery, Austin, Texas, after a funeral procession from Midlothian, Texas, to Austin, stretching over 200 miles. Hundreds of local and out-of-state residents lined Interstate 35 to view the procession and pay their final respects to Kyle.
A film based on his autobiography American Sniper is in production with Kyle portrayed by Bradley Cooper and directed by Clint Eastwood. The film does not portray the alleged incident involving Ventura. Eastwood's version does, however, include a scene depicting an alleged incident in which Kyle claimed to have shot two Mexican carjackers. The event was one of several unverified incidents Kyle was said to have been involved in.
- Kyle, Chris; McEwen, Scott; DeFelice, Jim (2013). American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History. New York: W. Morrow, 2012. ISBN 0-062-08235-3 OCLC 733224029
- Kyle, Chris; Doyle, William (2013). American Gun: A History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms. New York: William Morrow, 2013. ISBN 0-0622-4271-7 OCLC 813286737
- List of snipers
- Longest recorded sniper kills
- Carlos Hathcock, US sniper with 93 confirmed kills during the Vietnam War.
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