One year ago America heard the shocking news that Chris Kyle had been shot and killed along with his friend Chad Littlefield. Chris and Chad had taken veteran Eddie Ray Routh to Rough Creek Ranch to help him with his post traumatic stress.
Chris was born April 8, 1974, in Odessa, Texas, to a Sunday school teacher and a deacon. He received his first gun at the age of 8 when his father bought him a bolt action .30-06 Springfield rifle and later a shotgun. They hunted the typical Texas wildlife, pheasant, quail and deer. After graduation from school he became a professional bronco rider until an arm injury ended that career.
He signed up with the US Marines but was rejected due to the pins in his arm. A little later he got a call from a Navy recruiter that told he had the chance to go to BUD/S(Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL school). He signed with the US Navy in 1999.
Assigned to SEAL Team 3, Sniper Element Charlie, later Cadillac, platoon within the Naval Special Warfare Command, and with over four tours of duty, Kyle served in many major battles of the Iraq War. 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. He stated, that “the woman was already dead. I was just making sure she didn’t take any Marines with her.”
For his deadly track record as a marksman during his deployment to Ramadi, the insurgents named him Shaitan Ar-Ramadi (The Devil of Ramadi), and put a $20,000 bounty on his head that was later increased to $80,000.
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, 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.
During this time he had married Taya and had two small children. Kyle decided to spend time with his family and was honorably discharged from the US Navy in 2009. The family moved to Midlothian, Texas. He remained in the spotlight after leaving the Navy and wrote a New York Times bestselling autobiography, American Sniper.
He was President of Craft International until his death. Craft is a tactical training company for the US military and Law Enforcement communities. 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.
On Saturday, February 2, 2013, Kyle and Chad Littlefield, were shot and killed at the Rough Creek Ranch-Lodge-Resort shooting range in Erath County, Texas 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.
A memorial service was held for Kyle at Cowboys 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. Thousands of local and out of state residents lined Interstate 35 to view the procession and pay their final respects to Kyle on a cold and rainy day.
His grave at the Texas State Cemetery is marked only by a small grave marker at this time. I hope he gets a huge marker that he will fit with the other monuments in the cemetery. He is placed by waterfall and a small creek across from Monument Hill.
|Picture taken during our visit to the cemetery in April ’13|
So on this Super Bowl Sunday remember to say a prayer for Chris’ and Chad’s families. This is going to be a very difficult day for them all.