Military Wiki
Chris Kyle
Birth name Christopher Scott Kyle[1]
Nickname The Devil of Ramadi
Born (1974-04-08)April 8, 1974[2]
Died February 2, 2013(2013-02-02) (aged 38)
Place of birth Odessa, Texas, US
Place of death Erath County, Texas, US
Buried at Texas State Cemetery[3]
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1999–2009
Rank CPO collar.png Chief Petty Officer[4]

US Navy SEALs insignia.png United States Navy SEALs


Iraq War

Awards Silver Star ribbon.svg Silver Star Medal (2)
BronzeStarV.jpg Bronze Star Medal (Valor; 5)
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation ribbon.svg Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (1)
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement ribbon.svg Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2)[4][5]
Spouse(s) Taya Renae Kyle [6]
Other work

American Sniper (2012)

American Gun (2013)

'''Christopher Scott Chris" Kyle''' (April 8, 1974 – February 2, 2013) was a United States Navy SEAL known as the most lethal sniper in American military history with 160 confirmed kills out of 255 claimed kills, although these statistics have not been released by the Pentagon.[4][7]

Kyle served four tours in the second Iraq conflict and was awarded the 4th highest commendation awarded for acts of heroism, acts of merit, and/or meritorious service in a combat zone, the Bronze Star Medal and the third highest level of valor awarded Silver Star Medal multiple times. Iraqi insurgents dubbed him the "Devil of Ramadi" and offered a bounty for his head. He was shot twice, and was involved in six IED attacks.[8]

Kyle decided to spend time with his family and was honorably discharged from the US Navy in 2009. He remained in the spotlight after leaving the Navy and wrote a New York Times bestselling autobiography, American Sniper. Kyle was shot and killed at a shooting range by a fellow veteran on February 2, 2013, near Chalk Mountain, Texas.

Early life[]

Born in Odessa, Texas, the son of a Sunday school teacher and a deacon,[4] Kyle's father bought his son his first gun at 8 years old, a bolt-action .30-06 Springfield rifle, and later a shotgun, with which they hunted pheasant, quail, and deer.[4] After school, Kyle became a professional bronco rodeo rider, but his profession ended abruptly when he severely injured his arm. After his arm healed, he went to a military recruiting office, interested in joining the United States Marine Corps (USMC). A Navy recruiter told him about the Navy SEALs. Kyle signed up, but was rejected because of the pins in his arm. A little while later, he received a call and he had the chance to go to BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL school), finally joining the United States Navy in 1999.[9]


Military service[]

Iraq War[]

Assigned to SEAL Team 3, Sniper Element Charlie platoon within the Naval Special Warfare Command, and with over four tours of duty, Kyle served in many major battles of the Iraq War.[4] His first long-range kill shot was taken during the initial invasion, when he shot a woman approaching a group of Marines with a hand grenade in her hand. As ordered, he opened fire, killing the woman before she could attack.[8]

For his deadly track record as a marksman during his deployment to Ramadi, the insurgents named him Shaitan Ar-Ramadi (English: The Devil of Ramadi), and put a $20,000 bounty on his head that was later increased to $80,000.[4][8]

In 2008, outside Sadr City, he made his longest successful shot, after he spotted an insurgent with a rocket launcher near a US Army convoy at a range of 2,100 yards (1.9 km). He fired a shot from his .338 Lapua Magnum-chambered McMillan TAC-338 sniper rifle,[10] killing the insurgent as told in his book American Sniper. During four tours of duty in Iraq, Kyle was shot twice and caught up in six separate IED explosions.[8] His other weapons included the Mk 12 sniper rifle, M4 carbine and a .300 Winchester Magnum sniper rifle.[11]

Later work[]

Kyle left the US Navy in 2009 and moved to Midlothian, Texas, with his wife, Taya, and two children.[12] He was President of Craft International until his death. Craft is a tactical training company for the US military and Law Enforcement communities.[13] In 2012, Harper Collins released Kyle's autobiographical book American Sniper.[12][14] Kyle also paired with FITCO Cares Foundation, a non-profit organization which created the Heroes Project to provide free in-home fitness equipment, individualized programs, personal training, and life-coaching to in-need veterans with disabilities, Gold Star families, or those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.[15] On August 13, 2012, Kyle appeared on the reality television show Stars Earn Stripes, which features celebrities pairing up with a special operations or law enforcement professional who will train them in weapons and combat tactics. Kyle was teamed with actor Dean Cain.[16]

Alleged confrontation with Jesse Ventura[]

In interviews with both the Opie and Anthony Show and Bill O'Reilly in January 2012, Kyle claimed to have punched former Minnesota Governor and UDT member Jesse Ventura at a bar in Coronado, California in 2006 during a wake for Mike Monsoor, a Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient who had been killed in Iraq the same year. Kyle claimed that Ventura was "bad-mouthing the war, bad-mouthing (former President) Bush, bad-mouthing America" and that Ventura said the SEALs "deserved to lose a few guys".[17] In a subsequent interview, Ventura denied that he was punched by Kyle, saying that he never met Kyle nor even heard of him. Ventura also adamantly denied saying any derogatory remarks about the military.[18] Ventura filed a lawsuit against Kyle for defamation in court.[19] Despite Kyle's death in February 2013, Ventura announced he would continue his lawsuit by adding Kyle's estate to the lawsuit.[20]


On Saturday, February 2, 2013, Kyle and a companion, Chad Littlefield, were shot and killed at the Rough Creek Ranch-Lodge-Resort shooting range in Erath County, Texas[21] by 25-year-old fellow veteran Marine Eddie Ray Routh, whom Kyle and Littlefield had purportedly taken to the gun range in an effort to help him with what they were told by his mother was post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).[22][23]

Local police captured Routh after a short freeway chase, which ended when Routh, who had left the scene of the shootings in Kyle's Ford F-350 truck, crashed into a police cruiser. Routh was arrested just before 9 p.m. the same day in Lancaster, Texas.[24] Erath County sheriffs said the motive for the killing was unclear.[25] Routh, from Lancaster, was arraigned February 2, 2013, on two counts of capital murder, according to Sgt. Lonny Haschel of the Texas Department of Public Safety. He was taken to the Erath County Jail for holding under a $3 million bond.[26]

A memorial service was held for Kyle at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on February 11, 2013. Kyle was buried on February 12, 2013, in Texas State Cemetery, Austin, Texas, after a funeral procession from Midlothian, Texas, to Austin, stretching over 200 miles. Hundreds of local and out of state residents lined Interstate 35 to view the procession and pay their final respects to Kyle.[27][28]

See also[]


  1. Bernstein, Adam. "Chris Kyle, Navy Seal and author of ‘American Sniper’, dies". The Washington Post. "Christopher Scott Kyle was born in 1974" 
  2. "Texas Births, 1926-1995". Family Tree Legends. Retrieved 2013-02-03. 
  3. Jamie Stengle; Paul J. Weber (12 February 2013). "Procession escorts ex-Navy SEAL Kyle to burial". Retrieved 15 February 2013. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Buiso, Gray (January 1, 2012). "Meet the big shot - SEAL is America's deadliest sniper". New York Post. Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  5. Chris Kyle (2010-03-24). "Chris Kyle from HarperCollins Publishers". Retrieved 2013-02-04. 
  6. "Taya Renae Kyle [11781]". Retrieved 2013-07-22. 
  7. "About The Book". American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History. HarperCollins. Retrieved June 22, 2012. "...though his remarkable career total has not been made public by the Pentagon." 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Sanchez, Raf (January 2, 2012). "'The Devil of Ramadi' named America's deadliest sniper". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-01-02. 
  9. Kyle, Chris (2012). American Sniper. HarperCollins. 
  10. "McMillan TAC-338 Sniper Rifle". Retrieved February 16, 2013. 
  11. "'Chris Kyle: al-Shaitan of Iraq'". March 14, 2012. Retrieved 2013-02-13. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 Kyle, Chris; McEwen, Scott; DeFelice, Chris (January 2, 2012). "American Sniper". Harper Collins. Retrieved 2012-01-02. 
  13. "Craft International". Retrieved 2012-08-10. 
  14. Kyle, Chris; McEwen, Scott; DeFelice, Chris (February 5, 2012). American Sniper. Harper Collins. ISBN 0-06-208235-3. 
  15. "Fitco Cares". Retrieved 2012-08-10. 
  16. "Stars Earn Stripes Bio for Chris Kyle". Retrieved 2012-09-08. 
  17. Zennie, Michael. "America's deadliest sniper killed 255 Iraqi 'savages' to protect his friends... but he punched out Jesse Ventura because he 'bad-mouthed the troops'". Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  18. Watson, Paul Joseph. "Ventura: Navy SEAL ‘Punch’ Hoax May be Retribution For Supporting Ron Paul". InfoWars. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  19. Browning, Dan. "Jesse Ventura aims to get even with Navy SEAL in court". StarTribune. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  20. Chasmar, Jessica. "Ex-Minn. Gov. Jesse Ventura sues Navy SEAL Chris Kyle’s widow". The Washington Times. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  21. "Noted sniper slain at Erath County gun range". WFAA TV. Retrieved February 3, 2013. 
  22. Schwirtz, Michael (2013-02-03). "'American Sniper' Author Shot to Death in Texas". Retrieved 2013-02-03. 
  23. "Man charged in fatal shooting of ex-SEAL/author". Yahoo News. Retrieved February 3, 2013. 
  24. "Author of "American Sniper" among the dead at Rough Creek". Retrieved 3 February 2013. 
  25. "American Sniper author Chris Kyle shot dead in Texas". BBC. February 3, 2013. Retrieved February 3, 2013. 
  26. Copeland, Larry (February 3, 2013). "Ex-SEAL Chris Kyle remembered after shooting death". 
  27. Mervosh, Sarah (February 7, 2013). "Details announced for Navy SEAL Chris Kyle’s memorial service at Cowboys Stadium". The Dallas Morning News.
  28. "Residents Line I-35 To Pay Respects To Slain Navy SEAL". Our Town Texas. Retrieved February 12, 2013.

External links[]

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