After weathering a demanding selection process, Kyle was selected for and trained as a sniper. Over the course of his 10-year military career, Kyle served four combat deployments to Iraq. His marksmanship became renowned not just within the American military, for whom he was charged with protecting, but among insurgents as well, who nicknamed him “The Devil of Ramadi.” His enemies had also put a $20,000 bounty on the head of any U.S. sniper. Kyle’s steel nerves and patience for tracking his subjects earned him two awards of the Silver Star and five awards for the Bronze Star. In all, Kyle claimed to have killed more than 160 people, a record for a U.S. military sniper though the number could not be officially substantiated. “After the first kill, the others come easy,” he later wrote in his bestselling 2012 book, American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History.
Kyle left the military in 2009. In his post Navy life, Kyle followed a number of different pursuits, many of them no doubt aided by the fame his book brought him. With his hulking presence and quiet demeanor, Kyle encapsulated the image of a military hero and as sales of his books soared, he appeared on talk shows and participated in the NBC competition show, Stars Earn Stripes. In addition, Kyle co-launched a non-profit group, FITCO Cares Foundation, which supplies fitness equipment to war wounded veterans. Kyle’s childhood passion for guns remained with him. He founded Craft International, a security company that is marketed with the motto, “Despite what your momma told you, violence does solve problems.” Kyle was also an outspoken opponent of President Obama’s push to tighten gun controls.
Kyle’s life came to a tragic end on February 2, 2013, when he and a colleague, Chad Littlefield, were shot at a gun range outside of Forth Worth, Texas, by Eddie Ray Routh, an ex-Marine who had a long history of mental illness. Chris Kyle was 38 years old.
30° 15.979, -097° 43.577
Texas State Cemetery