Chris Kyle was far and away the deadliest sniper in American history. During his four tours in Iraq, Kyle collected 160 confirmed kills by the Pentagon’s count, and nearly twice as many by his own accord. Kyle was wounded three different times, dodged six IED attacks, and survived two helicopter crashes.
His impressive combat abilities earned him the nickname Shaitan Al-Ramadi, translated as The Devil Of Ramadi. He was even reported to have an $80,000 bounty placed on him by Iraqi insurgents.
For his time as a Navy SEAL, Kyle was awarded two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars with Valor, among other accolades.
Kyle’s life has been immortalized in books and movies. He released his autobiography, American Sniper, in 2012. The book spent 37 weeks on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Overnight, Kyle’s indescribable military career became world renowned, and Kyle was an instant celebrity.
“Tales of his heroism on the battlefield were already lore in every branch of the armed forces”, Michael J. Mooney, author of a biography of Kyle said following the book’s release, as D Magazine reported. Now, his heroism was known by every American.
Check out the video tribute to Kyle below:
Initially struggling with civilian life, Kyle found solace in a number of military organizations, including the FITCO Cares Foundation. The nonprofit organization created the Heroes Project to provide free in-home gym equipment, workout programs, personal training, and life-coaching to veterans in-need with disabilities
Kyle also spent a good portion of his civilian time as a firearms instructor sharing his invaluable knowledge with others. Combining his love of guns with his selfless desire to help veterans in need, Kyle volunteered to help a former Marine with PTSD at the request of the Marine’s mother.
Kyle and his friend, Chad Littlefield, opted to take the Marine, Eddie Ray Routh, to the Rough Creek Lodge shooting range near Chalk Mountain, Texas to blow off some steam. The 25-year-old had spent four years in the service, but had been hospitalized twice in recent months for mental illness.
The group arrived at Rough Creek Lodge together in the middle of the afternoon on Feb. 2, 2013. The events of that day are still unknown, but hours after their trip began, police found Kyle’s truck gone, and Kyle and Littlefield’s bodies shot multiple times.
Eddie Ray Routh was tried and convicted of killing the men and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Chris Kyle will not only be remembered for his heroism on the battlefield, but also for his altruism as a civilian. Kyle impacted the lives of millions of Americans, and his story will continue to live on for generations to come. As a Navy SEAL, he was the most feared sniper to ever handle a gun. But at home, he was a loving father, husband and friend who did everything he could to help those in need.