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Serving four tours in the Iraq war, Navy Seal Chris Kyle became known as the most lethal sniper in American military history. He was selected for Seal Team #3 chief, and served ten years in the U.S. Navy. Because of his 160 confirmed kills, he was awarded the highest medals in the U.S. military, including the Bronze and Silver Star. His important legacy inspired the movie American Sniper, based on his own New York Best Selling Novel, American Sniper: the Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History (Chris Kyle American Sniper).
Christopher Scott Kyle was born on April 8, 1974 in Odessa, Texas. He grew up on a ranch with his parents and brother. His father was a church deacon and his mother was a sunday school teacher. He enjoyed deer and pheasant hunting, and went on to compete in several bronco busting contests. Kyle studied agriculture at the Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas. After two years, he decided to leave school to work as a ranch hand. However, his lifelong dream was to join the Navy, so he enlisted in 1999. That same year, he met Taya Studebaker, who he married three years later before leaving for one of his tours. They had two children, one of which was diagnosed with leukemia while Kyle was in Iraq. Because of his controversial career, there is not a lot of information on his children.
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During his ten year service to the Navy, he was quickly admitted to Seal Team 6, the elite special operations unit. He was selected to train as a sniper since he was a sharpshooter. He was deployed with the platoon “”Charlie”” to fight in the Iraq war. The team joined the Marines in Al-Faw Peninsula as they marched towards the capital city of Baghdad in March of 2003. They protected the marine squad as they went door to door from insurgent ambushes (The Real Life Story Behind “”American Sniper””). His enemies put a $20,000 bounty head on any U.S. sniper. They posted pictures of him with his name all over the capital, but it turns out that the picture was not of him. He was still shot twice, but lived through both wounds. He received the nickname “”The Devil of Ramadi”” because he had over 200 claimed kills. After he was honorably discharged in 2009, he devoted his life to helping disabled veterans.
Chris Kyle partnered with the FITCO Cares Foundation, which helped disabled military veterans recover physically and emotionally in their homes. According to Business Wire, the Department of Defense reported nearly 50,000 men and women were injured in Iraq. Many doctors do not have the right fitness equipment and programs to help them recover properly. FITCO Care’s goal is to give these veterans the necessary workout equipment to recover from the injuries. Many injured service men and women are not in the right physical or mental condition to regularly go to the gym. Kyle had his own injuries as well, which helps him understand what other veterans may be going through.
On February 2, 2013, Chris Kyle and his neighbor Chad Littlefield went to a shooting range in Erath County, Texas with one of the veterans that Kyle was mentoring. Former marine Eddie Routh had been dealing with PTSD and depression since his discharge. He turned on his two mentors, and shot Kyle and Littlefield dead. It is unknown what made him do this, but according to an article released by ABC News the next day, Routh stated that he “”did not know there would be weapons.”” Chris Kyle’s family suffered tremendously from this horrible incident, and the country honored his passing.
Chris Kyle is an inspiration to many people who are interested in a military career. He is a hero to not only the country, but to his family as well. Although his legacy was controversial, he has worked with many foundations that care for veterans. What he accomplished in his military career should not be the only part that people remember, but also the work he did for his country. He inspired me to be “”stronger than was possible”” (Chris Kyle). No matter what I decide to be, I do know I want to protect my country and its people.
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