The True Story Behind American Sniper


The photo above is from Kyle’s novel, ‘American Sniper.’ “Me and Taya, the love of my life and better half,” Kyle wrote. Chris Kyle was more than just a bronco rider from Texas or the deadliest sniper in U.S. history; he was a father, a husband, and a friend.(Photograph courtesy of Heather Hurt/Calluna Photography.)

Rhiannon Martin, Staff Writer

By now, everybody has either seen the new Bradley Cooper movie ‘American Sniper’ or at least heard bits and pieces of the true story behind the deadliest sniper in American history. Chris Kyle, who completed four tours in Iraq, had a confirmed kill rate of 160 out of a possible 255 kills. His statistics are the highest recorded in the American military. Kyle’s reported longest kill was shot from 2,100 yards away using his McMillan Tac-338. Kyle was shot twice and lived through six different IED attacks in his country-side time. The sniper also went by the name “Legend” to his fellow SEALs and the Marines that he was asked to protect.

While he was on tour in Ramandi, the rebels nicknamed him “The Devil of Ramandi” and placed a $21,000 bounty on his head, later, his bounty increased to $80,000. The insurgents spread images of the cross tattoo on his arm (so that if anyone saw him) they knew how to identify the sniper.

Kyle was not only a Navy SEAL, but he was a father, a husband, and a friend. Once the Chief Petty Officer returned state-side, he began showing symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Although it was not confirmed, he was believed to be the one in eight returning soldiers with this disorder. None the less, he found a way to cope. By reaching out through his local veterans association, Kyle helped and bonded with vets who suffered this disorder and many other disorders.

While working with local veterans, Kyle reached out to producer and actor Bradley Cooper and began to tell him his story. Cooper became intrigued and saw block busting potential in the story of this American hero. Cooper began to help Kyle’s dream of having his message told to the nation come true. Both of them met a few times to discuss the film and all of its details shortly before Kyle’s untimely passing. Shortly after film plans were made, funeral plans were also made for the thirty- eight year old veteran. On February 2, 2013, as Chris Kyle was bonding with a Marine veteran by the name of Eddie Ray Routh,  Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield were shot to death at a local gun range where the three were practicing shooting. Kyle and Littlefield’s case was put to trial and the jury was given three options for a verdict; guilty, not guilty, and not guilty by reason of insanity. The jury found Routh, a retired marine, guilty and he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, charged with a capital murder conviction.

Kyle also published a book titled ‘American Sniper’ alongside the help of Jim DeFelice and Scott McEwen. The novel tells the story and the struggles of Kyle’s life on both country-side and state-side of the war against Iraq. A second book was published by the retired proffesional bronco rider and Navy SEAL called ‘American Gun: A History of the U. S. In Ten Firearms’ along with help from author, William Doyle.

The story and legacy of Chris Kyle will continue to live on throughout history. Thanks to Cooper’s spot on decpiction of America’s deadliest sniper, audiences around the world can be informed about the truth of society today: good people die young and without reason.