Chris Kyle

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Chris Kyle
Birth name Christopher Scott Kyle[1]
Nickname(s) شيطان الرمادي
Shaitan Al-Ramadi
The Devil of Ramadi
Born (1974-04-08)April 8, 1974[2]
Odessa, Texas, US
Died February 2, 2013(2013-02-02) (aged 38)
Erath County, Texas, US
Buried at Texas State Cemetery[3]
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service 1999–2009
Rank CPO collar.png Chief Petty Officer[4]

US Navy SEALs insignia.png United States Navy SEALs

  • SEAL Team 3, sniper element, Charlie platoon (later called Cadillac platoon)
Awards Silver Star ribbon.svg Silver Star Medal (2)
BronzeStarV copy.jpg Bronze Star Medal (Valor; 5)
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation ribbon.svg Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (1)
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement ribbon.svg Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2)[4][5]
Spouse(s) Taya Renae Kyle[6]
Other work

American Sniper (2012)

American Gun (2013)
Signature Chris Kyle Signature.png

Christopher Scott "Chris" Kyle (April 8, 1974 – February 2, 2013) was a United States Navy SEAL and the most lethal sniper in Navy 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".[4][7][8]

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.[9] 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.[10]

Kyle was honorably discharged from the US Navy in 2009. He remained in the spotlight after leaving the Navy and wrote a bestselling autobiography, American Sniper. Kyle was shot and killed at a shooting range on February 2, 2013, near Chalk Mountain, Texas, along with friend Chad Littlefield. The man accused of killing them is awaiting trial for murder.

Early life[edit]

Kyle was born in Odessa, Texas, the son of Deby Lynn (Mercer) and Wayne Kenneth Kyle, a Sunday school teacher and a deacon.[4][11] 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.[4] 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.[12]


Military service[edit]

Iraq War[edit]

Assigned to SEAL Team 3, Sniper Element Charlie, later Cadillac,[9] platoon within the Naval Special Warfare Command, and with over four tours of duty, Kyle served in many major battles of the Iraq War.[4] 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.[10] He stated, that "the woman was already dead. I was just making sure she didn't take any Marines with her." [9]

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.[4][10]

In 2008, outside Sadr City, Kyle claims 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.[13] The army has not verified this story.

During four tours of duty in Iraq, Kyle was shot twice and caught up in six separate IED explosions.[10] His other weapons included the Mk 12 Designated Marksman Rifle, Sig Sauer P220 Pistol, M4 carbine and a .300 Winchester Magnum sniper rifle.[14]

Later life[edit]

Kyle left the US Navy in 2009 and moved to Midlothian, Texas, with his wife, Taya, and two children.[15] He was President of Craft International, a tactical training company for the US military and Law Enforcement communities.[16] In 2012, Harper Collins released Kyle's autobiographical book American Sniper.[15][17]

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.[18] 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.[19]

Alleged confrontation with Jesse Ventura[edit]

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".[20] 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.[21] Ventura filed a lawsuit against Kyle for defamation in January 2012.[22] After Kyle's death in February 2013, Ventura announced he would continue his lawsuit by adding Kyle's estate as a defendant.[23]

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.[24][25]

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.[26]

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,[27] knocking him to the ground and not leave a facial mark.[28]

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.[29] 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.[30] On November 26, 2014, Judge Kyle denied all of the motions from the Estate of Chris Kyle, and wrote in his decision that the trial was fair and the verdicts were supported by "substantial evidence." [31][32]

On December 16, 2014 Jesse Ventura filed a lawsuit against HarperCollins over a book that a jury found defamed him, according to news reports. Ventura’s new lawsuit claims that publicity created by Kyle’s telling of the incident “increased sales” and generated “millions of dollars for HarperCollins.”[33]


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[34] 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).[35][36]

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.[37] Erath County sheriffs said the motive for the killing was unclear.[38] 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.[39] Routh's trial was set to begin May 5, 2014, but was delayed to allow more time to comply with DNA test requirements.[40]

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.[41] Hundreds of local and out-of-state residents lined Interstate 35 to view the procession and pay their final respects to Kyle.[42][43]


A film based on his autobiography American Sniper was produced with Kyle portrayed by Bradley Cooper and directed by Clint Eastwood.[44] The film does not portray the alleged incident involving Ventura.


  • 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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bernstein, Adam (February 4, 2013). "Chris Kyle, Navy Seal and author of ‘American Sniper’, dies". The Washington Post. Christopher Scott Kyle was born in 1974 
  2. ^ "Texas Births, 1926-1995". Family Tree Legends. Retrieved 2013-02-03. [dead link]
  3. ^ Jamie Stengle; Paul J. Weber; Angela K. Brown (12 February 2013). "Procession escorts ex-Navy SEAL Kyle to burial". Army Times. Associated Press. Retrieved 15 February 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Buiso, Gray (January 1, 2012). "Meet the big shot - SEAL is America's deadliest sniper". New York Post. Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  5. ^ Chris Kyle (2010-03-24). "Chris Kyle from HarperCollins Publishers". Retrieved 2013-02-04. 
  6. ^ "Taya Renae Kyle [11781]". Retrieved 2013-07-22. 
  7. ^ Briggs, Bill (2014-07-30). "Confirmed kills: A solemn secret for military snipers is becoming a pop-culture hit". NBC News. Retrieved 5 September 2014. 
  8. ^ "About The Book". American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History. HarperCollins. Retrieved June 22, 2012. ...though his remarkable career total has not been made public by the Pentagon. [dead link]
  9. ^ a b c "American Sniper". Harper Collins. 
  10. ^ a b c d Sanchez, Raf (January 2, 2012). "'The Devil of Ramadi' named America's deadliest sniper". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-01-02. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ Kyle, Chris (2012). American Sniper. HarperCollins. 
  13. ^ "McMillan TAC-338 Sniper Rifle". Retrieved February 16, 2013. 
  14. ^ "'Chris Kyle: al-Shaitan of Iraq'". March 14, 2012. Retrieved 2013-02-13. 
  15. ^ a b Kyle, Chris; McEwen, Scott; DeFelice, Chris (January 2, 2012). "American Sniper". Harper Collins. Retrieved 2012-01-02. 
  16. ^ "Craft International". Retrieved 2012-08-10. 
  17. ^ Kyle, Chris; McEwen, Scott; DeFelice, Chris (February 5, 2012). American Sniper. Harper Collins. ISBN 0-06-208235-3. 
  18. ^ "Fitco Cares". Retrieved 2012-08-10. 
  19. ^ "Stars Earn Stripes Bio for Chris Kyle". Retrieved 2012-09-08. 
  20. ^ Lamothe, Dan (30 July 2014). "Jesse Ventura vs. Chris Kyle: A case where no one won". Washington Post (Katharine Weymouth). Retrieved 21 November 2014. 
  21. ^ Watson, Paul Joseph. "Ventura: Navy SEAL ‘Punch’ Hoax May be Retribution For Supporting Ron Paul". InfoWars. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  22. ^ Browning, Dan (24 February 2012). "Jesse Ventura aims to get even with Navy SEAL in court". Star Tribune. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  23. ^ Chasmar, Jessica (2 June 2013). "Ex-Minn. Gov. Jesse Ventura sues Navy SEAL Chris Kyle’s widow". The Washington Times. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  24. ^ "Jury awards Jesse Ventura $1.8 million in 'American Sniper' lawsuit". The Dallas Morning News. 29 July 2014. Retrieved 29 July 2014. 
  25. ^ "Chris Kyle trial: Jesse Ventura wins $1.8 million in defamation case". Oregon Live. Associated Press. 2014-07-29. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  26. ^ "Jesse Ventura's $1.8M award in defamation trial ruled reasonable". St. Paul Pioneer Press. 8 August 2014. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  27. ^ "Ventura testifies in 'American Sniper' lawsuit". KARE. 15 July 2014. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  28. ^ "Aug. 3: Juror describes how jury reached split decision in Jesse Ventura defamation trial". Star Tribune. 4 September 2014. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  29. ^ "Jesse Ventura case: 'Sniper' author's widow seeks retrial". St. Paul Pioneer Press. 4 September 2014. Retrieved 5 September 2014. 
  30. ^ "A sniper's widow fights for his legacy". The Deal Pipeline. 7 October 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  31. ^ "No new trial in Jesse Ventura, Chris Kyle defamation lawsuit, judge rules". St. Paul Pioneer Press. 26 November 2014. Retrieved 26 November 2014. 
  32. ^ . 26 November 2014 title=Judge's Memo denying motions title=Judge's Memo denying motions. Retrieved 6 December 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  33. ^
  34. ^ "Noted sniper slain at Erath County gun range". WFAA TV. Retrieved February 3, 2013. 
  35. ^ Schwirtz, Michael (2013-02-03). "'American Sniper' Author Shot to Death in Texas". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-02-03. 
  36. ^ "Man charged in fatal shooting of ex-SEAL/author". Yahoo News. Retrieved February 3, 2013. 
  37. ^ "Author of "American Sniper" among the dead at Rough Creek". Retrieved 3 February 2013. 
  38. ^ "American Sniper author Chris Kyle shot dead in Texas". BBC. February 3, 2013. Retrieved February 3, 2013. 
  39. ^ Copeland, Larry (February 3, 2013). "Ex-SEAL Chris Kyle remembered after shooting death". USA Today. 
  40. ^ "Chris Kyle Murder Trial Delayed". Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  41. ^ "Chris Kyle Funeral Procession Arrives in Austin | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth". 2013-02-12. Retrieved 2014-07-15. 
  42. ^ Mervosh, Sarah (February 7, 2013). "Details announced for Navy SEAL Chris Kyle's memorial service at Cowboys Stadium". The Dallas Morning News.
  43. ^ "Residents Line I-35 To Pay Respects To Slain Navy SEAL". Our Town Texas. Retrieved February 12, 2013.
  44. ^ VERRIER, RICHARD (April 23, 2014). "Eastwood starts shooting 'American Sniper' at Santa Clarita ranch". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 5 August 2014. 

External links[edit]