Chris Kyle was born in Odessa, Texas. His father, originally from Kansas, was a Sunday school teacher. Kyle studied ranch management in the 1990s and joined the US Marine Corps aged 24, after recovering from a rodeo accident.
As a sniper with SEAL Team 3, he earned himself the name of the Devil of Ramadi among the insurgents. He left the US Navy in 2009.
As of January 2012, he was believed to have been the most lethal soldier in American military history. 150 deaths resulting from his career were officially confirmed (or 160, according to the Beijing Morning Post), but Kyle himself believed that the actual number was more than 250, according to Outlook, a BBC documentary series first aired on January 5, 2012. He was mostly known for his role in Iraq during the Second Gulf War, and particularly for his role in the battles of Falluja, Ramadi and Sadr City. Insurgents put a bounty of 80,000-dollar bounty on his head, according to the BBC.
Kyle left for Iraq for the first time one week after the birth of his first child, a son. His wife “put on a strong face” and “made sure that I felt good”, he told the BBC in the Outlook documentary. But after the birth of their second child, a daughter, who was close to death for some time after birth, she told him that he had to make a choice between his family and his job. Divorce rate among SEALs was at 95 percent, according to Kyle, and he chose to save his marriage. Asked if he had regrets about any of the people he had killed, he said that about every person killed “I strongly believe they were bad and when I do go face God, there is going to be lots of things I have to account for, but killing anyone of those people is not one of them”.
After ending his military career, Kyle set up a company that trained troops, police, companies and individuals in the use of firearms. According to the Beijing Morning Post, he opposed tighter gun control legislation.
Chris Kyle and his neighbor Chad Littlefield were fatally shot on a shooting range near Glen Rose in Texas, on Saturday. Reportedly, the perpetrator was a veteran who was struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. Kyle and Littlefield are said to have been trying to help him cope with the disorder.
» Mind of a Sniper, BBC, January 25, 2012
Main Category: Obituary