Chris Kyle has become a sort of modern day Davey Crockett, an American hero who gave his life for his country, a man who embodied within himself all the traits that make this country so great.
But much like figures from the past, could some of Chris Kyle’s story been mythologized? And could Kyle himself been behind it?
If you aren’t familiar, there’s been a belief that Kyle had a tendency to be loose with the truth. He often told a story about killing two men at a gas station that no one could verify, and he once claimed to shoot 30 looters in New Orleans after Katrina while perched on the roof of the Superdome.
(This is a great read on his bravado and braggadocio.)
Now, it turns out Kyle lied about the awards he won in the Navy. And everyone knew he was making some shit up.
The Intercept obtained Kyle’s service records and show they don’t match up with what he wrote in American Sniper.
In the book, Kyle said he was awarded two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars.
But Kyle, who was murdered by a fellow military veteran several years after leaving the Navy, embellished his military record, according to internal Navy documents obtained by The Intercept. During his 10 years of military service and four deployments, Kyle earned one Silver Star and three Bronze Stars with Valor, a record confirmed by Navy officials.
The Stolen Valor Act of 2013 made it a federal offense to lie about medals awarded in service. American Sniper was published a year before the law was passed.
Kyle was told, when the government reviewed the book before publication, to correct it. He didn’t.
Kyle was warned at least once before American Sniper was published that its description of his medal count was wrong, according to one current Navy officer, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak about the case. As Kyle’s American Sniper manuscript was distributed among SEALs, one of his former commanders, who was still on active duty, advised Kyle that his claim of having two Silver Stars was false, and he should correct it before his book was published.
But because of Kyle’s stature in the public eye, after it went to print with the incorrect information, everyone just kind of went along with it.
[A] former SEAL officer who attended Kyle’s Silver Star ceremony said it was a poorly kept secret in the naval special operations community that Kyle embellished his record. “The SEAL leadership was aware of the embellishment, but didn’t want to correct the record because Kyle’s celebrity status reflected well on the command.”
“Everybody went on a pilgrimage to his funeral at Cowboys Stadium,” the ex-SEAL said, “knowing full well his claims weren’t true.”
Kyle previously lost a defemation suit after claiming to have punched former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura. A court ruled he hadn’t and ordered Kyle’s widow, Taya, to pay $1.8 million in damages.