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Sat Dec 27, 2014, 09:08 PM

In the Crosshairs: Chris Kyle, a decorated sniper, tried to help a troubled veteran, tragic [View all]


http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/06/03/in-the-crosshairs

JUNE 3, 2013 ISSUE

Chris Kyle, a decorated sniper, tried to help a troubled veteran. The result was tragic.

BY NICHOLAS SCHMIDLE

On the morning of August 2, 2006, three Navy SEALs walked onto the roof of a four-story apartment building in Ramadi, in central Iraq. One of them, a petty officer and a sniper named Chris Kyle, got into position with his rifle. Peering through his gun’s scope, Kyle scanned the streets below; as other American soldiers searched and cordoned off homes, he waited for insurgents to appear in his sight line.

It was an especially bloody phase of the war, and Kyle, who was thirty-two at the time, had distinguished himself amid the violence. That summer, he recorded his hundredth career kill—ninety-one of them in Ramadi. He was on his way to becoming one of the deadliest snipers in American history, with a hundred and sixty confirmed kills. In a written evaluation, his commanding officer reported that Kyle had “single-handedly thwarted a large-scale attack on a U.S. Marine Combat Outpost,” adding that his “performance under fire cannot be overstated.” Two previous evaluations had recommended Kyle for SEAL Team Six, the unit that later killed Osama bin Laden, and Kyle had received two Silver Stars for his achievements in combat.


Eddie Ray Routh, left, served in the Marines for four years. Kyle, right, wrote a best-selling memoir about his life as a SEAL.
CREDIT A. J. FRACKATTACK; PHOTOGRAPH: LEFT: REUTERS; RIGHT: ERIC TANNER


In “American Sniper,” a memoir that was published in 2012, and went on to sell more than a million copies, Kyle recounted some of his most dramatic tales of marksmanship. There was the time in Ramadi that he shot two insurgents who were riding tandem on a moped with a single bullet. “When you’re in a profession where your job is to kill people, you start getting creative,” Kyle wrote. On another occasion, he killed an enemy fighter from more than a mile away. A former officer in Kyle’s platoon said that Kyle was willing to spend hours setting up the perfect shot, and joked, “He was extremely patient while being a sniper. He was not that patient otherwise.”

To other servicemen, Kyle, an affable, brawny Texan with reddish-blond hair, could seem like Paul Bunyan in fatigues. An ex-Ranger, whose unit was housed in Ramadi on the same base as Kyle’s SEAL platoon, recently told me about the day that two Iraqi spies—both working for the Americans—reported being trailed by members of Al Qaeda in Iraq. The spies feared that they would be kidnapped. Kyle climbed a ladder that had been affixed to a palm tree and hid among the fronds. When the Al Qaeda members appeared, he killed them both.

FULL story at link.

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