R.I.P. Chris Kyle – Warrior and American Sniper

I learned of the murder of Chris Kyle from a sniper friend’s Facebook post when I got home from watching the UFC fights Saturday night.  While I posted a short R.I.P. message at that time, I wanted to post something a bit longer to honor the fallen SEAL sniper.

It saddens and angers me to see this happen.  Someone that gave so much, and lived through so much, to only be gunned down by someone he was trying to help.

Read the New York Times story here.

Personally, I had not met Kyle yet.  I planned to.  I read American Sniper last year when it came out and enjoyed the book.  You can read the review I wrote at the time below. I also enjoyed seeing him teamed up with Dean Cain on “Stars Earn Stripes,” raising money for charities.  I intended to contact him and hopefully have him endorse one of my future books.  Sadly, that will never happen.  And not sad for my books, but sad that he is no longer here.  I am most saddened for his wife and children.

Chris Kyle served his country and continued to help others after leaving the Navy.  He was a true warrior and will be missed by many.  May he rest in peace, and may his family find comfort in this difficult time.  I hope they know his loss is felt by many and his sacrifices and service are appreciated by many too.

 

This is the review I wrote last year after reading American Sniper:

American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History by Navy SEAL Chris Kyle with Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice is an engaging account of Chris Kyle’s time as a Navy SEAL, where he became a SEAL sniper and amassed an amazing amount of confirmed kills, and who knows how many probables.  Having been an Army sniper, and having known a number of Vietnam era and more recent snipers, I understand what goes into confirmed kills, and that is why I state that Kyle amassed an amazing number of them.

There are many reviews of this book, both good and bad.  I agree, as a shooter, that I’d have liked a little more description and focus on some of the actual sniping. Yes, I wanted a few more details.  However, what I really liked is that the book allows you to get to know Kyle a bit, as a person, not a cold calculating killing machine that some might think a SEAL sniper is.

Obviously, when it comes to a sniper with the confirmed kills that Kyle has, comparisons to Carlos Hathcock, the famed Marine sniper from Vietnam will be made.  I knew Hathcock, and have fond memories of our conversations and exchanges through the mail.  I was very pleased to see Kyle honor him in the pages of this book.  According to Kyle, “he was and always will be the greatest sniper ever.”

Some might not have liked the passages written by Kyle’s wife, Taya, but I found them to add some of the personality of the book.  The fact is, when people in the military are deployed, there are those at home who are impacted.  It was good to see this, and how the relationship was effected by Kyle’s deployments and his feelings toward country and family, and how those feelings matured and why he finally got out of the military and devoted time to his family.  (Even if he did feel some guilt over this.)

I was working security the other night and couldn’t help but think of Kyle when a number of people didn’t stop walking around the stadium when the National Anthem was playing. I liked Kyle’s passage about speaking up to people like that, and I myself have done the same.  It was these little things that made my like Kyle more, and that added to the book.

This is not an action packed account of sniper missions, but rather a mildly sanitized account of one man’s (and his wife’s) story of become a Navy SEAL sniper and what that journey encompassed, and how it effected him, and where he went next. I enjoyed reading his story, and I feel I’d enjoy getting to know Chris Kyle.  I’d have liked to have had more detail on certain sniping missions and tactics, and I can understand how some people might not like this straight forward attitude on things.  I’m glad I read this book, but I give it four stars when compared to Hatchcock’s story’s five.  I thank Chris Kyle for his service, and I thank him for sharing his tale.