Chris Kyle joined the Navy SEALS as a sniper when he was 25. Kyle began shooting when he was only eight when his father bought him a bolt-action .30-06 Springfield rifle. In his early years, he was a professional rodeo bronco rider; unfortunately, he was injured and forced to quit; he then decided to join the military.
Kyles's first choice was the Marines, but a Navy recruiter convinced him to apply to be a SEAL. After being rejected, he eventually received an offer letter in 1999 to join Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL school BUD/S.
In 2003 Kyle was deployed to Iraq; his team was in charge of rooftop security to protect the marines that were on the ground, clearing a road. Kyle noticed a woman carrying a grenade, and he had the order to eliminate the threat, and with one shot, he took out the threat saving the lives of the Marines nearby.
Kyle served four tours in Iraq, including Fallujah in 2004, Ramadi in 2006, and Baghdad in 2008. While deployed in Ramadi, he was given the nickname Shaitan Ar-Ramadi, The Devil of Ramadi. There was a $20,000 bounty on his head, which eventually increased to $80,000.
During his time in Ramadi, he had 91 kills. Overall, Kyle had 160 confirmed kills during his time as a sniper; the furthest kill was 2,100 yards. Kyle saw a combatant with a rocket launcher moving toward the American convoy and was able to take them out with a single round.
He was shot twice during his career, survived six IED attacks (Improvised explosive devices), and earned two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars.
After serving ten years, Kyle was honorably discharged in 2009; he went home to his wife and two daughters in Midlothian, Texas. Kyle struggled to transition back to civilian life and started a business Craft International.
A company that trained soldiers to shoot, his school trained the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, the team that took out Osama Bin Laden. He also helped veterans with PTSD, which unfortunately led to his tragic death.
When Kyle returned home, he reached out to help fellow veterans who suffered from physical and emotional disabilities—organizing trips to shooting ranges to help veterans connect and begin integrating into the community.
PTSD can include recurrent and intrusive thoughts of past traumatic events and can cause intense psychological distress upon exposure to reminders of the event, including feeling detached from others, sleep disturbances, hypervigilance around others, and altered beliefs of oneself and the world.
Affecting thousands of Veterans, including Kyle. Providing a community of support and guidance. His compassion for helping others with PTSD is how Kyle and his friend, a fellow veteran Chad Littlefield were murdered on Feb 2, 2013, at the Rough Creek Lodge shooting range in Texas.
Veteran Marine Eddy Ray Routh, who had PTSD, one day his mother contacted Kyle to ask if he could help her son with his PTSD. Kyle agreed and thought he could help him. Routh was a 25-year-old Marine Corps veteran.
According to reports from Routh stated:
"If I did not take down his soul, he was going to take down mine
He shot Kyle first because he could ¨clearly identify him¨.
He also went on to say that:
'I shot them because they wouldn't talk to me. I was just riding in the back seat of the truck, and nobody would talk to me. They were just taking me to the range, so I shot them. I feel bad about it, but they wouldn't talk to me. I am sure they have forgiven me,'
Routh's attorney argued the case of insanity. However, the witnesses thought he was faking schizophrenia. Routh was found guilty of both murders and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
More can be learned about Chris Kyle in his autobiography American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in US Military History, or you can watch the movie Amerian Sniper.
RIP, Chris Kyle, and Chad Littlefield.