Chris Kyle was a Navy SEAL sniper and most lethal sniper in American history who became famous after publishing his bestselling autobiography ‘American Sniper’ in 2012. He spent 10 years as a SEAL until his honorably discharge in 2009. During his time as a SEAL, he was shot twice and survived 6 IED explosions. Chris Kyle died as a victim of homicide at the Rough Creek Lodge shooting range near Chalk Mountain, Texas in 2013.
Chris Kyle was born on April 8, 1974, in Odessa, a small town in Texas as a Christopher Scott Kyle. He was the eldest of two boys born to Deby Lynn and Wayne Kenneth Kyle. His first encounter with guns was when he was 8 years old. His dad bought his first rifle, a bolt-action .30-06 Springfield rifle, and later a shotgun. They enjoyed hunting deer, pheasants and quail.
He attended high school in Midlothian, Texas. Kyle graduated in 1992 and shortly after that, he became a pro bronco rider and ranch hand. His professional career ended when he severely injured his arm. After that part of his life, Kyle attended Tarleton State University from 1992 to 1994. He studied Ranch and Range Management.
His path to the BUD/s wasn’t easy. He went to the military recruiting office with an idea to join the U.S. Marine Corps but a U.S. Navy recruited convinced him to try, instead, for the Navy SEALs. At his first assessment, he was rejected because of the pins in his arm, but he eventually received an invitation to the BUD/s (Basic Underwater Demolition/Sea, Air, Land (SEAL) training). Kyle was sent to the 24-week training at Coronado, California in 1999.
Chris Kyle graduated with BUD/s Class 233 in March 2001. Shortly upon graduation, he was assigned to Seal Team 3. He served as sniper element, Platoon “Charlie” (later “Cadillac”), within the Naval Special Warfare Command.
During his military service, he served four tours in Iraq. Chris Kyle was shot twice and surviving 6 IED explosions. He also earned dozens of awards and decorations for his service including one Silver Star and four Bronze Stars for his tours of combat in Iraq.
The most lethal sniper in US military history
Whole military career Chris spent as a sniper. In Iraq, he learned how not to hesitate, but to shoot straight. The first kill ever he had in Iraq, in the case when he shot a woman who was about to attack a group of American marines with a hand grenade. Chris Kyle was laying at the top of a building in a town in Iraq if the first day of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The marines couldn’t see the threat the woman was posing.
His commanding officer told him to shoot, but his hesitation was stronger than him. He pulled the trigger only on the second command. He shot his first target and eliminated the threat. The woman dropped the grenade when she was shot. Kyle shot her again when the grenade went off.
His kill unofficial kill count was 266 kills, out of which 166 was officially confirmed by Pentagon. With this score, Chris Kyle has become the most lethal sniper the history of the US military had ever seen.
Previous American record was about 109 confirmed kills. To be counted as confirmed kill, the shooter and his pointer “need to see the person fall and be clearly dead” which is why US Marine Sniper Carlos Hathcock estimated that he had killed between 300 and 400 enemy personnel during his time in Vietnam but had only 93 confirmed kills of North Vietnam Army and Viet Cong.
Chris Kyle used standard-issue Sig Sauer P226 as his favorite sidearm while he had several sniper rifles he usually used depends on the occasion. Here you may find more information about Chris Kyle’s weaponry.
Devil of Ramadi and the Myth
Chris Kyle’s deadly reputation that got him the nickname Al-Shaitan Ramadi – the Devil of Ramadi – during his mission in Ramadi and a bounty of $20,000 was put on his head. However, this same reputation got him a different nickname among his fellow soldiers, including Marines whom he had the task of protecting – The Legend.
The nickname originated among Kyle’s fellow SEALs following his taking of a sabbatical to train other snipers in Fallujah, and he was sometimes called “The Myth”.
After ten years of service, Kyle was retired. He poured his incredible story into a book called ‘American Sniper’.
‘’It was my duty to eliminate the target and I never had any regrets about pulling the trigger. My only regret is the people who I couldn’t save, marines, soldiers, friends… I am not naïve and I’m not trying to romanticize war, but I am ready to meet God with a clear conscious’’ Chris Kyle concluded.
In 2009, he decided he won’t be going back to Navy, because, as it was reported, he wanted to save his marriage. He started his own military company, Craft International. It provides military and law enforcement sniper training, as well as private security and protection.
The best-selling book of his exploits as an elite sniper in Iraq was turned into a successful movie “American Sniper” starring Bradley Cooper in 2014.
Besides all his assignments, he loved to help veterans suffering from PTSD and other mental issues recover and readjust to civilian life. That’s also how he died: an ex-marine shot him and his friend when they were heading to a shooting range.
On February 2, 2015, exactly two years after Kyle’s murder, Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared the day “Chris Kyle Day”. In his hometown Odessa, there is Chris Kyle’s monument.
Chris Kyle, along with his friend Chad Littlefield, was shot multiple times near Rough Creek Lodge in northern Texas on February 2nd, 2013. The murder suspect Eddie Routh tried to run but was arrested. Later he was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility for parole.