American Sniper was released in late 2014, but it has not lost its popularity since its Christmas release date. It chronicles the life of Chris Kyle, who was a marksman in the US Military. The movie is based somewhat on Kyle’s memoir, titled American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in US Military History. It starred Bradley Cooper in the title role, with Sienna Miller playing his wife, Tanya. The film was directed by Clint Eastwood.
Chris Kyle, the title role, was a real man from Texas who joined the US Navy in 1999. He learned to shoot from his father, going on hunting expeditions from the time he was 8 years old. When he joined the military, he was interested in special operations, but was convinced to join the SEALs. Eventually, he was assigned to a team as a sniper. This began his story as the deadliest marksman in US military history.
In Kyle’s four tours during the Iraq War, he killed 255 targets, 160 of which were confirmed by the United States government. According to Kyle’s memoir, to be considered a confirmed kill, it had to be seen by someone in addition to the sniper and the target had to fall and be obviously deceased. Kyle also lamented that the government went back and forth on how many confirmed kills they attributed to him, saying “if you want a number, ask the Navy- you may even get the truth if you catch them on the right day.”
in 2009, Kyle left the Navy with an honorable discharge. He went into the private sector as the president of a tactical company. He was persuaded to write his autobiography, with the help of author Jim DeFelice. The book was released in 2012, and spent 37 weeks on the bestseller list. It gained him national attention, both good and bad, even resulting in a lawsuit from a person mentioned in the book as “Scruff.”
In 2013 Kyle was murdered by a fellow veteran. He and a friend had taken Eddie Ray Routh to the gun range to help him overcome his PTSD. The man had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and was not mentally well. He told the sheriff that he shot them because they wouldn’t talk to him. He was found guilty of two counts of murder two years ago nearly exactly to the day, on February 24, 2015.
Kyle’s legacy lives on through his wife and children, his autobiography, the American Sniper film, and the “Chris Kyle Bill” in Texas.