Chris Kyle, known as the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history, who penned the bestselling autobiography ‘American Sniper,’ embellished his military record, according to documents obtained by The Intercept.
Kyle wrote in his book,
‘All told, I would end my career as a SEAL with two Silver Stars and five Bronze [Stars], all for valor.’
But that’s not the case. Records show that during Kyle’s 10 years of military service and four deployments, he earned one Silver Star and three Bronze Stars with Valor.
One current Navy officer, who asked not to be identified, said that Kyle was warned at least once before American Sniper was published that his description of his medal count was not correct.
The Intercept reports:
‘As Kyle’s American Sniper manuscript was distributed among SEALs, one of his former commanders, who was still on active duty, advised Kyle that his claim of having two Silver Stars was false, and he should correct it before his book was published.’
Kyle’s heroism in combat was not disputed by current and former Navy SEALs, however, they did note that they felt it was dishonorable of him to inflate his medal count.
‘According to two current Navy officials, inaccurate information about Kyle’s awards is also contained in his separation document, known in the military as a DD214, which usually reflects a veteran’s official service record. Kyle’s DD214 form, which lists two Silver Stars and six Bronze Stars with Valor among his decorations, also differs from the number of Bronze Stars with Valor — five — that Kyle listed in his book.’
“Given [Kyle’s] celebrity, you’d think the Navy would have gone back and fixed the discrepancy,” said one Navy official, who added, “But he’s only got the three Bronze and one Silver Star.”
A former SEAL officer who was in attendance at Kyle’s Silver Star ceremony said that it was a poorly kept secret in the naval special operations community that Kyle embellished his record. “The SEAL leadership was aware of the embellishment, but didn’t want to correct the record because Kyle’s celebrity status reflected well on the command,” he said.
In 2013, Kyle, 38, was murdered in Texas by a fellow veteran who had mental health problems. “Everybody went on a pilgrimage to his funeral at Cowboys Stadium,” the former SEAL said, “knowing full well his claims weren’t true.”
‘In 2014, just over a year after Kyle’s death, a Minnesota jury found that he had lied in American Sniper and defamed former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura by claiming to have punched Ventura out at a bar in Coronado, California. The jury awarded Ventura, who served in a precursor unit to the Navy SEALs during the Vietnam War, $1.8 million in damages and ordered Kyle’s widow, Taya Kyle, to pay. (Taya Kyle is appealing the ruling.)’
Ventura, a former governor and professional wrestler, testified in court that the incident never happened. Kyle insisted in testimony before he was killed that the incident did take place.
Both sides put witnesses on the stand during the two-week trial and in the end, Ventura was awarded $1.8 million in damages.
Kyle listed “160 confirmed kills” in his book. After his book was published, he went on to become a hero to Conservatives.