“Take a shot.”
The “Devil of Ramadi” had this conversation with his chief just before he made his first shot as a Navy sniper in Iraq. Lying on top of an overturned crib in a shabby building, he watched a woman preparing to attack a group of unaware U.S. Marines with a hand grenade. At first, he was apprehensive to pull the trigger. After that encouragement from his chief, Chris Kyle took the shot and never again hesitated to shoot. This was even before Saddam Hussein had been ousted. In all, Kyle served four tours of duty as a Navy sniper in Iraq. With two hundred fifty five confirmed kills, Chris Kyle is the most deadly sniper in U.S. military history. His remarkable number blows away the previous record of one hundred nine, set by Army Staff Sgt. Waldron during the Vietnam War.
Chris Kyle is a traditional Texas cowboy; he was a professional bronco rodeo rider before joining the Navy. He grew up shooting pheasant and deer with a shotgun and a rifle his dad had bought him. However, even with that experience, he never realized that he was a good shot until he made it into the SEAL special operations unit, a position that is hard to come by. He earned his nickname, “the Devil of Ramadi,” from insurgents during his deployment there. They named him “Al-Shaitan Ramad”, the devil of Rahmadi, and put a $20,000 bounty on his head. He thought these things to be “an honor.”
His fellow SEALs had a different nickname for him: the Legend.
His most legendary shot came in 2008 outside Sadr City, when he spotted an insurgent with a rocket launcher near a U.S. Army convoy. There was one catch: The insurgent was 2,100 yards away. From those 1.2 miles away, Kyle shot from his .338 Lapua Magnum rifle. The man knocked over, dead. “God blew that bullet and it hit him,” Kyle told the New York Post.
For his bravery, Kyle received three Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars with Valor. He was shot twice, and was also in six separate IED explosions with his unit, Charlie company of SEAL Team Three, as they saw significant combat across the country of Iraq.
Despite the enormous number of people he has shot, Chris Kyle views the enemy as a “savage” and he has never second-guessed himself since he shot the woman with a hand grenade from that rundown buiding. Chris told Texas Monthly, “It was my duty to shoot the enemy, and I don’t regret it. My regrets are for the people I couldn’t save: Marines, soldiers, buddies. I’m not naive, and I don’t romanticize war. The worst moments of my life have come as a SEAL. But I can stand before God with a clear conscience about doing my job.”
Chris Kyle left the service in 2009 to “save his marriage.” He has two children and lives in Dallas, Texas. Since leaving the Navy, Kyle has begun his own military contracting firm, Craft International. His firm provides law enforcement and military sniper training, as well as private security and protection.
Men like Chris Kyle should be further recognized for their valiant displays of courage while defending our country. Hopefully, more people will realize what a tremendous accomplishment Mr. Kyle has achieved. He deserves to be admired, respected, and recognized by everyone in this country!