Chris Kyle, whose memoir “American Sniper” was turned into a Hollywood blockbuster, greatly embellished his military service record, according to newly revealed documents.
Kyle, the former Navy SEAL known as the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history, claimed in his book to have been awarded two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars, “all for valor” — but, in fact, he earned only about half that total, reported The Intercept.
The website obtained internal Navy documents that showed Kyle earned only one Silver Star and three Bronze Stars with Valor, and Navy officials confirmed that service record through 10 years in the military and four deployments.
Kyle was warned at least once by a former commanding officer before his memoir was published that he had inaccurately portrayed his medal count, according to one current Navy officer who spoke to The Intercept.
His separation document, or DD214, actually lists even more medals than Kyle claimed in his book.
That document lists two Silver Stars and six Bronze Stars, although it’s not clear where the discrepancy originated.
“The form DD214 is generated locally at the command where the service member is separated,” said Cullen James, a spokesperson for the Navy Personnel Command. “Although the information on the DD214 should match the official records, the process involves people and inevitably some errors may occur.”
James said the official record would be maintained by the Navy Department Awards System — which documented one Silver Star and three Bronze Stars for Kyle, who separated from the Navy in 2009 and was murdered four years later by a mentally ill veteran.
Nearly 7,000 people attended his funeral, which was held at Cowboys Stadium near Dallas.
Fellow Navy SEALs who spoke to The Intercept on the condition of anonymity said it was a poorly kept secret that Kyle had embellished his military service record.
“Everybody went on a pilgrimage to his funeral at Cowboys Stadium, knowing full well his claims weren’t true,” said one former Navy SEAL.
Former SEALs said they didn’t understand why Kyle would have inflated his valiant service.
“It takes away from the legitimate heroism he showed,” said a retired SEAL who was deployed to Iraq when Kyle was also deployed there.