Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Navy SEALs have fought and died on many battlefields across the globe. I have known a number of SEALs, worked with many, called some shipmate and even earned the recognition of being considered a friend by others. SEALs have always taken on some of the toughest and most dangerous missions our country has ever tackled. Until recently, most of these missions have been done in silence, with little to no recognition beyond the small group of operators involved.
Even among the elite, Chris Kyle managed to distinguish himself from his peers. He survived four deployments to Iraq as a SEAL sniper. As a SEAL, I am sure he also saw action in several clandestine battlefields we will never know about as well. Kyle won two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars with the distinguishing mark of the Combat “V” for valor.
The U.S. Military did not only recognize Kyle, the enemy recognized him. Although the enemy never honored Kyle with snippets of brightly colored ribbon, they labeled him as the al-Shaitan Ramad, “The Devil of Ramadi.” Kyle earned this distinction after killing 40 insurgents in the second battle of Fallujah. His efforts also earned him an $80,000 bounty being placed on his head.
His greatest skill was for being in the right place at the right time. He saw more targets that met the rules of engagement than anyone else, so he shot more targets than anyone else did.
During Kyle’s career he was credited with over 150 confirmed kills. The enemy rightly feared him; there is no telling how many American lives, and those of Allied Forces, Chris Kyle saved. But there are many battles being fought each and every day. Some are battlefields in foreign countries and others in the heads of returning servicemen and servicewomen.
Kyle’s dedication to his fellow servicemen did not end with his retirement from military. He helped found FITCO Cares, a nonprofit organization for wounded and troubled veterans.
In support of that mission, Kyle and Chad Littlefield were trying to help a former Marine, Eddie Ray Routh recover from the ravages of combat and PTSD by taking him to a shooting range. Although the motivation and details are not clear at this point, it has been reported that Routh shot both men in the back killing them.
I am at a loss. I feel a great deal of hostility toward a person I have never met; yet I feel sympathy for him at the same time. The hostility is certainly the result of what I would consider a cowardly and senseless act by a former Marine. The sympathy…? I do not know what prompted this individual or what kind of demons could possibly have been controlling his head.
For Kyle and Littlefield, all I can do is wish that their sails always be full with a gentle breeze while sailing seas of glass.
For Routh, I sincerely hope he gets whatever it is he deserves. I make no pretense at knowing all of the facts or being qualified to judge if I did. If it is mental care that he deserves, then so be it. If not, may he burn in the fires of Hell for eternity.
Please keep Kyle and Littlefield in your thoughts and look for ways to support the families that were left behind. The wake of this tragedy has not yet fully hit shore, but I am sure by the time it has, there will be a fund or charity designated to help support the victims left behind.
As a minimum go out and buy a copy of Kyle’s autobiography, American Sniper, and help his family that way…
You can also help support his family with a direct donation through America’s Mighty Warriors. Kyle’s family will receive 100 percent of all donations.