10 Remarkable Stories About ‘American Sniper’ Chris Kyle
Navy SEAL Chris Kyle was the most successful sniper in American history. However, Chris thought his success shouldn’t be based on the 160 confirmed kills he’s credited with. Instead, Kyle wanted people to remember the many soldiers and civilians he saved. “That’s the number I’d care about,” Kyle said. “I’d put that [number] everywhere.”
Kyle went on four tours of Iraq, and most of what happened during his time overseas is still classified. However, here are 10 stories about Kyle’s remarkable life. Admittedly, while some of this material comes from interviews with the people who knew him, several of these stories are gleaned straight from Kyle’s memoir. As such, it’s hard to confirm all the details, but regardless, the “American Sniper” was truly larger than life.
In retrospect, it should have been obvious that Chris Kyle would join the military. In his memoir, Kyle said that from an early age, he was instilled with a profound sense of justice. He hated bullies, and while he wasn’t allowed to start fights, he did frequently defend himself and his little brother with his fists. He also grew up in little Texas towns, working ultra-macho jobs like bronco busting and cattle ranching.
It also should’ve been obvious that he would someday be a sniper. He was a youngster when he first started hunting deer, quail, and turkeys with his family. But he never could have foreseen that he’d become a Navy SEAL. He hated water. “If I see a puddle,” he said in an interview, “I will walk around it.”
Indeed, Kyle’s fear of water was a great impetus to persevere while suffering the rigorous qualifications for the SEALs. After all, if he flunked out, he’d find himself on a ship surrounded by H2O. When he finally qualified, he was assigned to “Charlie” Platoon, SEAL Team Three based out of Coronado, California. He chose this particular team because it had a history of combat in the Middle East, and action was what he yearned for.
Kyle got his wish when the US and its allies invaded Iraq in March 2003. One of the cities on the way to Baghdad is An-Nasiriyah, about 365 kilometers (225 mi) southeast of the capital. After troops tried to take the city in late March, the initial firefight eventually gave way to a building-to-building search for Iraqi militiamen. The scattered remnants of the insurgency were now ambushing soldiers with small arms and RPGs.
Kyle’s platoon was assigned to “overwatch” the Marines, protecting them as they made their searches. In order to prevent ambushes, his platoon took over a run-down building overlooking the street. This way, Kyle could keep an eye on the Marines as they started knocking down doors. However, he wasn’t yet qualified as a sniper, and his chief petty officer was watching the street with a .300 Winchester Magnum. But when the officer needed a break, he handed the gun to Kyle.
About 45 meters (150 ft) from Kyle’s perch, a door opened, and out stepped a woman and a child. As the Marines drew closer, the woman reached under her clothes and yanked the pin from a Chinese grenade. The chief told Kyle to shoot, but he initially hesitated. Then he pulled the trigger twice, one shot hitting the woman and the other exploding the grenade. The child was uninjured.
When the incident was recreated in the movie American Sniper, things played out a little bit differently. The child becomes Kyle’s first sniper kill. However, Kyle said he never once shot a child, and he also stated that the woman was the only female Iraqi he ever killed. Nor did he feel any remorse. “It was my duty to shoot, and I don’t regret it. The woman was already dead. I was just making sure she didn’t take any Marines with her.”