Chris Kyle

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Chris Kyle (2012)
Chris Kyle Signature.png

Christopher Scott "Chris" Kyle (born April 8, 1974 in Odessa , Texas , † February 2, 2013 in Erath County , Texas) was an American sniper . With over 160 confirmed kills, he is the sniper with the highest number of kills in US military history, according to the US Department of Defense . He received several military awards and medals.

His autobiography American Sniper became a bestseller. In 2014, the film adaptation of American Sniper by director Clint Eastwood with Bradley Cooper in the lead role grossed 517 million  US dollars worldwide .


Kyle grew up in several small towns in Texas due to his father's job. His father was a manager at the Southwestern Bell telephone company. The family was very religious: Kyle's father was a deacon , the mother a Sunday school teacher . He learned to shoot as a child and accompanied his parents on the hunt, and at the age of seven he got his first own rifle.

After graduating from high school in 1992, Kyle studied Ranch and Range Management at Tarleton State University in Stephenville , Erath County , Texas , but dropped out shortly before graduation.

Military service

In 1999 he joined the Navy SEALs and served there until 2009. He was a member of Seal Team 3. During his service, he participated as a sniper in four combat missions in the Iraq war and was promoted to Chief Petty Officer (CPO). Because of his high kill rate, the Iraqi insurgents offered Kyle a bounty of US $ 20,000. His farthest shooting distance to kill a person was 1920 meters.

After the end of his service, he founded the security company Craft International and the non-profit organization FITCO Cares Foundation in Dallas , with which he sold home fitness equipment for mentally and physically impaired veterans .


Kyle received several high military awards and decorations. The exact number of awards is controversial.

Kyle's personnel file in the US Navy has one Silver Star and three Bronze Stars , his official discharge letter lists two Silver Stars and six Bronze Stars. In his autobiography American Sniper , Kyle mentions two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars.

Activity as an author

Taya Kyle (2013)

His autobiography American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in US Military History was published in early 2012 and became a bestseller with approximately 900,000 copies sold. The German edition Sniper: 160 fatal hits - The best sniper in the US military unpacks appeared in October 2012. In the book, he describes on the one hand his problems finding his way after the war and on the other hand his joy in killing enemy fighters, which he referred to as "barbarians". The autobiography was criticized by several journalists. Kyle has been accused of inhumanity and sadism, especially when he described how he delighted in the sight of enemies fighting for their lives. The Guardian journalist Lindy West described him as a hateful killer.

In an interview with Bill O'Reilly in January 2012, Kyle claimed he beat up former Minnesota governor and former soldier Jesse Ventura . Kyle claimed that Ventura "bad-mouthing the war, bad-mouthing Bush, bad-mouthing America" ​​was "bad-mouthing the war". Ventura then said he never met Kyle, wasn't beaten up by him, and he didn't speak badly about the army either. Jesse Ventura won a defamation lawsuit against Kyle. He was awarded $ 1.8 million in compensation. One controversy revolved around the claim by Kyle's family that the book's proceeds were donated to veterans' associations. Journalists, however, researched that a maximum of two percent of the three million US dollars had been donated.

Kyle was working on the book American Gun before he died . This is a work on weapons that played a special role in American history. Kyle's widow Taya finished and published this work.


Chris Kyle's tombstone

On February 2, 2013, Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield were shot dead at the Rough Creek Lodge firing range in Erath County, Texas. The perpetrator was a veteran of the Iraq war, the 25-year-old Marine Eddie Ray Routh, who is alleged to have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder , according to witness statements . However, the forensic psychiatrist who examined him after the crime declined the diagnosis. In his opinion, Routh suffered from schizophrenia . Routh had been treated twice in a mental hospital in the five months prior to the crime. Kyle had taken it to the facility himself, thinking that would give him better access to the locked Routh.

Kyle left behind his wife, son, and daughter.

A grand memorial service for Kyle was held on February 11, 2013 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas , which was attended by nearly 7,000 people. A day later, he was buried in Austin at Texas State Cemetery after the hearse and a procession convoy of over 200 vehicles had driven the 300 kilometers from Arlington, lining the streets with thousands of spectators.

Routh was sentenced to life in prison in February 2015 despite pleading insanity. The court ruled that he had no prospect of early release.


In 2014 began under the direction of Clint Eastwood , the shooting of the film American Sniper in which Bradley Cooper took over the role of Chris Kyle. In the United States, the film , which was released in November 2014 as part of the AFI Festival , became the most successful feature film of 2014.

Texas State Governor Greg Abbott declared February 2nd Chris Kyle Day in 2015 .


  • Chris Kyle, with Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice: Sniper: 160 fatal hits - The best sniper in the US military unpacks . Riva, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-86883-245-7 ( American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in US Military History . New York 2012. First edition: W. Morrow).

Web links

Commons : Chris Kyle  - Collection of Images

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Kyle, Christopher Scott, Texas Births, 1926-1995 .
  2. a b c d Sebastian Fischer: Chris Kyle shot: death of a sniper . Spiegel Online , February 4, 2013; Retrieved February 3, 2013.
  3. a b Thomas Widmer: The broken killer . In: Tages-Anzeiger , October 10, 2012, accessed on February 4, 2013.
  4. a b c Adam Bernstein: Chris Kyle, Navy SEAL and author of 'American Sniper,' dies . In: The Washington Post , February 4, 2013, accessed February 4, 2013.
  5. Sebastian Fischer: Chris Kyle shot: death of a sniper . Spiegel Online , February 4, 2013; accessed on June 30, 2015.
    Christina Michlits: More extreme than in the film: The "real" American Sniper . In: Kurier , February 26, 2015; accessed on June 30, 2015.
  6. ^ A b Matthew Cole and Sheelagh McNeill: "American Sniper" Chris Kyle Distorted His Military Record, Documents Show. (HTTPS) In: May 25, 2016, accessed May 26, 2016 .
  7. Ben Child: American sniper hero Chris Kyle 'lied about medal tally'. (HTTPS) In: May 25, 2016, accessed May 26, 2016 .
  8. Chris Kyle: Sniper: 160 Fatal Hits - The best sniper in the US military unpacks. Riva, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-86883-245-7 , page 4 .
  9. The Broken Killer . In: Tages-Anzeiger .
  10. Article. In: The Guardian
  11. Michael Zennie: America's deadliest sniper killed 255 Iraqi 'savages' to protect his friends ... but he punched out Jesse Ventura because he 'bad-mouthed the troops' . Daily Mail . Retrieved June 9, 2013.
  12. ^ Paul Joseph Watson: Ventura: Navy SEAL 'Punch' Hoax May be Retribution For Supporting Ron Paul . InfoWars. Retrieved June 9, 2013.
  13. ^ Dan Browning: Jesse Ventura aims to get even with Navy SEAL in court . StarTribune. Retrieved June 9, 2013.
  14. Article in the Washington Post
  15. 7 heinous lies “American Sniper” is telling America , Salon. January 24, 2015. Accessed January 26, 2015. 
  16. ^ Justice for Jesse: Ventura Was Right in His Lawsuit , National Review Online. July 30, 2013. Archived from the original on January 22, 2015 Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . Retrieved January 26, 2015. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / 
  17. ^ Nicholas Schmidle: Chris Kyle's Wife Speaks for His Book and for Guns . In: The New Yorker , June 4, 2014, accessed May 20, 2015.
  18. The Undoing of Eddie Ray Routh . In: The Trace . November 23, 2015 ( [accessed February 23, 2018]).
  19. Lindsay Deutsch: The fascinating life of Chris Kyle, the 'American Sniper' - USA Today Jan. 20, 2015
  20. The Assassination of the Sniper. In: Die Zeit , No. 7/2013, p. 41.
  21. Chris Kyle shot dead: Investigators puzzle over the motives of the sniper murderer . In: Abendblatt , February 4, 2013; accessed on May 20, 2015.
  22. Victoria Edwards: Taya Kyle, daughter of Lake Oswego mayor, wrote of fears for her husband, 'American Sniper' Chris Kyle . In: The Oregonian , February 4, 2013; accessed on May 20, 2015.
  23. America's deadliest sniper 'Chris Kyle laid to rest after 200-mile funeral procession lined with mourners . In: Daily Mail , February 12, 2015 (English).
  24. US trial: murderer of the "American Sniper" has to go to prison for life . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , February 25, 2015; Retrieved February 26, 2015.
  25. Björn Becher: US Box Office: "American Sniper" is now the most successful film of 2014 . In: , March 9, 2015.
  26. Texas declares 'Chris Kyle Day,' as Medal of Honor petition drive launches . In: Fox News , February 2, 2015; accessed on May 20, 2015.