||The neutrality of this article is disputed. (February 2015)|
Kyle in January 2012
|Birth name||Christopher Scott Kyle|
|Nickname(s)||"Chris", "Legend", "Devil of Ramadi",|
April 8, 1974|
Odessa, Texas, U.S.
|Died||February 2, 2013
Erath County, Texas, U.S.
|Buried at||Texas State Cemetery, Texas, U.S.|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1999–2009|
|Rank||Chief Petty Officer|
|Unit||SEAL Team 3|
|Awards|| Silver Star Medal (2)
Bronze Star Medal (Valor; 5)
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (1)
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2)
|Relations||Wayne Kenneth Kyle (father)
Deby Lynn Mercer (mother)
|Other work||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 U.S. military history with 160 confirmed kills. 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, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals and numerous other unit and personal awards.
Kyle was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy in 2009 and wrote a bestselling autobiography, American Sniper, which was published in January 2012. A film adaptation of Kyle's autobiography, directed by Clint Eastwood, was released in December 2014.
On February 2, 2013, Kyle was shot and killed at a shooting range near Chalk Mountain, Texas, along with friend Chad Littlefield. The man accused of killing them was found guilty of both murders on February 24, 2015.
Kyle was born in Odessa, Texas, the first of two boys born to Deby Lynn (née Mercer) and Wayne Kenneth Kyle, a Sunday school teacher and a deacon. Kyle's father bought his son his first rifle at eight years old, a bolt-action .30-06 Springfield rifle, and later a shotgun, with which they hunted pheasant, quail, and deer. Kyle attended high school in Midlothian, Texas. After school, Kyle became a professional bronco rodeo rider and worked on a ranch, but his professional rodeo career ended abruptly when he severely injured his arm.
After his arm healed, Kyle went to a military recruiting office, interested in joining the U.S. Marine Corps with a special interest in special operations. Kyle signed up, but was rejected because of the pins in his arm. Kyle met with a U.S. Army recruiter next, who told him about the Special Forces and the Rangers.
Assigned to SEAL Team 3, sniper element, platoon "Charlie" (later "Cadillac"), within the Naval Special Warfare Command, and with 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 while carrying a hand grenade. An article by CNN reported that the woman was cradling a toddler in her other hand. As ordered, he opened fire, killing the woman before she could attack. He later stated, "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 reportedly made his longest successful shot after spotting an insurgent who was about to fire a grenade at the U.S. Army convoy. Kyle stated that he fired one shot from his McMillan Tac-338 sniper rifle from about 2,100 yards (1,920 m) away, killing the insurgent.
During four tours of duty in the Iraq War, Kyle was shot twice and survived six separate IED explosions. He accumulated 160 confirmed kills out of 255 probable kills. These numbers are based on individual shooter logs, filled out at the end of a mission, and reported to higher command. Kyle stated that he did not know his official kill record, and only counted the lives he felt he could have saved. U.S. Special Operations Command treats sniper kill counts as "unofficial". Confirmed kills must have a witness. His other weapons included the Mk 11 7.62×51mm NATO semi-automatic sniper rifle, the Mk 12 5.56×45mm NATO Designated Marksman Rifle, the SIG Sauer P220 pistol, an M4 carbine and a .300 Winchester Magnum-chambered sniper rifle. He became known by the moniker "Legend" among the general infantry and Marines whom he was tasked to protect. This title initially originated in jest among fellow SEALs following his taking of a sabbatical to train other snipers in Fallujah.
Kyle left the U.S. 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 U.S. military and law enforcement communities.
In 2012, HarperCollins released Kyle's autobiographical book American Sniper. Kyle had initially hesitated to write the book but was persuaded to move forward because other books about SEALs were underway. In his book, Kyle wrote bluntly of his experiences. Of the battle for control of Ramadi he says "Force moved that battle. We killed the bad guys and brought the leaders to the peace table. That is how the world works." In the book and in interviews following, Kyle stated he had no regrets about his work as a sharpshooter, saying, "I had to do it to protect the Marines." American Sniper had a 37-week run on The New York Times bestseller list and brought Kyle national attention. Following its release, media articles challenged some of Kyle's anecdotes, but the core of his narrative was widely accepted. "Tales of his heroism on the battlefield were already lore in every branch of the armed forces."
Kyle paired with FITCO Cares Foundation, a nonprofit 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 posttraumatic 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 train them in weapons and combat tactics. Kyle was teamed with actor Dean Cain.
In interviews on The Opie and Anthony Show in January 2012, Kyle claimed to have punched former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura at a bar in Coronado, California, in 2006 during a wake for Mike Monsoor, a U.S. Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient killed in Iraq. The story parallels an incident in his book which does not mention Ventura by name, and claims a character named "Scruff Face" said that the SEALs "deserved to lose a few guys." Ventura filed a lawsuit against Kyle for defamation in January 2012. After Kyle was killed the following year Ventura continued the lawsuit against Kyle's estate. The court found that Kyle had falsely depicted Ventura in his book and in July 2014 the court awarded Ventura $1.8 million in damages. Kyle's widow is appealing the verdict on behalf of Kyle's estate.
On 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. Both men were armed with .45-caliber 1911-style pistols when they were killed, but neither gun had been unholstered or fired. The safeties were still on. Kyle was killed with a .45-caliber pistol, while Littlefield was shot with a 9mm Sig Sauer handgun. Both guns belonged to Kyle.
The shooter was Eddie Ray Routh, a 25-year-old U.S. Marine Corps veteran from Lancaster, Texas. Kyle and Littlefield had reportedly taken Routh to the gun range in an effort to help him with his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Routh had been in and out of mental hospitals for at least two years and had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. His family also said he suffered from PTSD from his time in the military. After the killings, Routh went to his sister's house in Midlothian and told her what he had done. His sister, Laura Blevins, called 911 saying: "They went out to a shooting range... Like, he's all crazy. He's fucking psychotic." 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 in Lancaster.
A memorial service was held for Kyle at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on February 11, 2013. Kyle was buried on February 12, 2013, at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, after a funeral procession from Midlothian to Austin, stretching over 200 miles. Hundreds of people lined Interstate 35 to view the procession and pay their final respects to Kyle.
Routh was arraigned February 2, 2013, on two counts of capital murder and was taken to the Erath County Jail for holding under a $3 million bond. His trial was set to begin May 5, 2014, but was delayed to allow more time to comply with DNA test requirements. The trial began on February 11, 2015.
On February 24, 2015, Routh was found guilty of the deaths of Kyle and Littlefield with the jury returning the verdict in less than three hours of deliberations. The trial judge, Jason Cashon, immediately sentenced Routh to life in prison with no possibility of parole.
In August 2013, Texas governor Rick Perry signed Senate Bill 162, also known as the "Chris Kyle Bill", to recognize military training in the issuance of occupational licenses. The bill had been co-sponsored by Republican Representative Dan Flynn of Van and Democratic Senator Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio. The ceremony was attended by Kyle's widow Taya.
Clint Eastwood's 2014 film American Sniper is based on Kyle's autobiography. Kyle is portrayed by Bradley Cooper and his wife Taya Kyle is portrayed by Sienna Miller. For his portrayal of Kyle, Cooper received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor, and the film was nominated in five other categories, including Best Picture. The film won the Academy Award for Best Sound Editing.
Awards and decorations
- List of snipers
- Longest recorded sniper kills
- Simo Häyhä, the record-holder for any major war with 505 confirmed kills
- 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
- 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
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- Buiso, Gray (January 1, 2012). "Meet the big shot - SEAL is America's deadliest sniper". New York Post. Retrieved January 3, 2012.
- Chris Kyle (March 24, 2010). "Chris Kyle from HarperCollins Publishers". Harpercollins.com. Retrieved February 4, 2013.
- "Taya Renae Kyle profile". Cemetery.state.tx.us. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
- "'American Sniper' Widow Recalls Heartbreaking Moment Kids Learned Navy SEAL Dad Chris Kyle Had Been Killed". Christian Post. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
- "American Sniper". Harper Collins.
- "Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), Grateful Nation Award"."Petty Officer 1st Class Chris Kyle".
- "Christopher Scott Kyle, Texas, Birth Index, 1903-1997". FamilySearch. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
- "The Life and Legend of Chris Kyle: American Sniper, Navy SEAL". Retrieved January 30, 2015.
- "'Chris Kyle, America's deadliest sniper, offered no regrets'". February 5, 2013. Retrieved January 1, 2015.
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- "About The Book". American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History. HarperCollins. Archived from the original on January 11, 2012. Retrieved June 22, 2012.
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- "Chris Kyle1". YouTube.
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- "Craft International". Retrieved August 10, 2012.
- Kyle, Chris; McEwen, Scott; DeFelice, Chris (February 5, 2012). American Sniper. Harper Collins. ISBN 0-06-208235-3.
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- Perry, Scott (March 5, 2012). "Book review: 'American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History' by Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
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- Pulliam Bailey, Sarah (January 14, 2014). "Here's the faith in the 'American Sniper' you won't see in the film". The Washington Post. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
- LaMothe, Dan (July 30, 2014). "Jesse Ventura vs. Chris Kyle: A case where no one won". The Washington Post. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
- Hoinski, Michael (December 22, 2014). "The Controversial True Story Behind 'American Sniper'". Mens Journal Magazine. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
- "Fitco Cares". Fitcocares.org. Retrieved August 10, 2012.
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- Why Did the ‘Deadliest’ SEAL Sniper Punch Jesse Ventura in The Face?
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- "The Ventura Verdict". The New Yorker. July 30, 2014. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
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- "Noted sniper slain at Erath County gun range". WFAA TV. Retrieved February 3, 2013.[dead link]
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- Laura (February 2, 2013). "Father of Chris Kyle killer Eddie Ray Routh is already mourning the loss of his son". Daily Mail (Online). Retrieved January 4, 2015.
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- Laura Beil (November 5, 2013). The Enemy Within: The Inside Story of Eddie Routh, the Man Accused of Killing Legendary "American Sniper" Chris Kyle. Rodale.
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- Ed Payne, Dana Ford and Jason Morris (February 24, 2015). "Jury finds Eddie Ray Routh guilty in 'American Sniper' case". CNN. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
- Fountain, Phil (2013-08-28). "Perry signs 'Chris Kyle Bill,' allows military experience for Texas state licenses". Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System. United States Department of Defense. Retrieved 2015-01-24.
- Lilley, Kevin (2013-03-17). "Chris Kyle statue created for SEAL's widow". USA Today. Retrieved 2015-01-24.
- Harper, Jennifer (2013-11-10). "Tea party to honor fallen SEALs Chris Kyle, those at Benghazi with sculptures". The Washington Times. Retrieved 2015-01-24.
- VERRIER, RICHARD (April 23, 2014). "Eastwood starts shooting 'American Sniper' at Santa Clarita ranch". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 5, 2014.
- Patrick Hipes. "Oscar Nominations 2015: Full List Of 87th Academy Award Nominees - Deadline". Deadline. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
- Holley, Peter (February 2, 2015) - "Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Declares 'Chris Kyle Day' As 'American Sniper' Continues to Surge". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 7, 2015.
- Associated Press (January 30, 2015) - "Greg Abbott Declares Feb. 2 'Chris Kyle Day'". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved February 7, 2015.
- Howell, Kellan (January 30, 2015) - "Gov. Abbott Declares 'Chris Kyle Day' in Texas: 'We Honor Our Military Heroes'". The Washington Times. Retrieved February 7, 2015.
- Mooney, Michael J., The Life and Legend of Chris Kyle: American Sniper, Navy SEAL (e-book, 70 pp.), Little, Brown and Company (an imprint of Hachette), April 23, 2013
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chris Kyle.|
- American Sniper at Harper Collins
- Kyle on The George Jarkesy Show
- Chris Kyle Story in The New Yorker
- French, David, "We Need More 'Extremists Like Chris Kyle", May 31, 2013, National Review
- Mooney, Michael J., "The Legend of Chris Kyle" D Magazine, April 2013
- Audio interview of Chris Kyle, with Matthew Bannister, for the BBC World Service's Outlook programme, broadcast on 5 Jan. 2012 (16 mins.).
- Craft International, the tactical training company Kyle founded to serve the U.S. military and law enforcement communities.