The movie, American Sniper, was one of the highest grossed films of 2015, raking in over $337 with thousands and thousands of viewers! Directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper as Kyle, the film garnered six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor! While the movie was fantastic, do you know the man behind the inspiration of the film?
Navy Seal Chris Kyle was known as the deadliest sniper in American Military History! Kyle began shooting at the young age 8 when his father bought him a bolt-action .30-06 Springfield rifle. His father took him hunting pheasant, quail and deer in Texas, giving him lots of practice in shooting accurately. After school, Kyle worked as a professional rodeo bronco rider, but after suffering an injury to his arm he had to cut that career short. Once recovered from his injury, Chris Kyle decided to join the military hoping to become a Marine. Rejected from the marines due to his arm injury, he was later offered a spot at Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL school (BUDS) and joined in 1999.
Chris Kyle was assigned to SEAL Team 3 and served 4 tours of duty. His first confirmed kill as a sniper took place during the initial invasion of Iraq. He was charged with watching over a group of Marines clearing a road, when he noticed a woman approaching with a grenade and fired under orders, eliminating the threat with one shot. While deployed in Ramadi, he was so effective that the enemy combatants named him Shaitain Ar-Ramadi, which translates to The Devil of Ramadi. A $20,000 bounty was issued for his death and was soon increased to $80,000.
Chris Kyle’s had 255 claimed kills, 160 were confirmed. His farthest confirmed kill took place in 2008 near Sadr City at 2,100 yards away!!! Kyle saw a combatant with a rocket launcher moving towards an American convoy and killed him with a single round. Throughout the rest of this career, Kyle was shot twice, survived six IEDs, and earned two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars for valor in combat!!!
Chris Kyle left the military in 2009 and lived in Midlothian, Texas with his wife and two children. He became president of a military and police training company, Craft International. He died tragically on February 2, 2013, when he and a friend were shot and killed at the Rough Creek Lodge shooting range in Texas by veteran Marine Eddie Ray Routh, who reportedly suffers from PTSD. Chris Kyle was buried on February 12, 2013, in Austin, Texas, after a funeral procession that stretched over 200 miles, with thousands of residents paying their respects along the way.
May you rest in peace Chris Kyle, Thank you for your service.