Name at birth: Christopher Scott Kyle
Chris Kyle was a United States Navy SEAL whose story was told in a 2012 memoir and its movie adaptation, 2014's American Sniper. At the time of his murder in 2013, Kyle had 160 confirmed kills as a sniper in Iraq, the most in U.S. history. A Texas boy who grew up to be a boozing, brawling would-be rodeo star, Kyle found his niche as a sniper on a SEAL team (Sea, Air and Land special forces) after enlisting in 1999. He was involved in major battles when the U.S. invaded Iraq, including the initial invasion (2003), the Battle of Fallujah (2004), and battles in Ramadi (2006) and Baghdad (2008). By the time he left the Navy in 2009, Kyle had won five Bronze Stars, two Silver Stars and a reputation for efficiency and loyalty. He published a memoir in January of 2012, American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History. It became a bestseller and Chief Petty Officer Kyle was exalted as a hero as he promoted the book on TV and radio; he even landed a short-lived gig on a reality TV series, teaching C-list celebrities how to act like soldiers in Stars Earn Stripes. In his book, Kyle described the Iraqis he killed as "savages," said he enjoyed his job as a sniper, and revealed that he suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after his return from combat duty. What saved him from a lifetime of more boozing and brawling was helping other veterans get physically and emotionally fit, usually by way of firing guns and going hunting. One veteran he tried to help was former Marine Eddie Ray Routh. On 2 February 2013, Kyle and a friend, Chad Littlefield, took Routh to a shooting range. Routh shot and killed both men and took Kyle's truck. Routh was later tried and convicted for Kyle's murder and sentenced to life in prison.
While promoting his book, Chris Kyle told stories that were called into question, including that he killed two men who tried to rob him, and that he killed more than 2 dozen people in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, stories law enforcement officials found not credible. He also claimed to have punched former SEAL and Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura in a bar fight, but Ventura sued for defamation and was awarded more than $1.8 million… According to Kyle’s memoir, he was nicknamed “The Devil of Ramadi” by Iraqi fighters… Although Kyle maintained that he donated profits from his book to charities and the families of deceased soldiers, The National Review, a conservative American magazine, claims Kyle kept the profits.
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