Chris was a Navy SEAL who singlehandedly liberated a group of Marines trapped in a house in Fallujah, Iraq, and dragged one injured Marine 50 yards down a dusty alley to safety as insurgents chased them. For his life-saving heroics on that day in Fallujah, Petty Officer Chris Kyle received a Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device. In characteristic fashion, he downplayed the importance of the honor: “It’s just an award. If I did this for awards, I’d have been outta here a long time ago.”
Chris returned to his family in Texas after that deployment in October 2008 and retired from the Navy in 2009. Chris’s achievements over the course of his military service are astonishing. With 160 confirmed kills, Chris was the most lethal sniper in American military history. The U.S. military honored Chris with a stunning array of commendations. One of his Silver Stars was awarded for Chris’s actions during a 2006 deployment to Ramadi, an epicenter of Al Qaeda and insurgent activity. According to the citation for that medal, he conducted 32 sniper overwatch missions and “personally accounted for 91 confirmed enemy fighters killed and dozens more probably killed or wounded.” Media accounts reported that insurgents dubbed him “The Devil of Ramadi” and offered a reward of $80,000 to anyone who could kill or capture him. Other Navy SEALs reportedly referred to him as “The Legend.”
Following his military service, Chris authored “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History,” which stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for months. Chris reportedly donated the proceeds from the book to help other veterans.
He also devoted time to helping veterans in need, such as establishing a nonprofit entity that provides troubled veterans with exercise equipment and counseling and taking veterans struggling with PTSD to the shooting range to help them cope with the transition to civilian life. Chris and a friend took one such trip with a Marine Corps veteran on Saturday, February 2, 2013. Tragically, the Marine shot and killed Chris and his friend at the shooting range.