The Loss of an American Hero
Former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle was murdered on Saturday by a fellow veteran whom Chris and a friend were helping work through symptoms of PTSD at a shooting range near Dallas, Texas. Chris Kyle is well known as the deadliest sniper in American military history with over 150 confirmed kills but he was lesser known for his work helping veterans through his charity FITCO Cares which donates home workout equipment to emotionally and physically wounded veterans. Kyle served in every major battle of the Iraq war and was so effective that the Iraqi insurgents eventually placed a bounty on his head. His book American Sniper which chronicled his life and service became a New York Times Bestseller.
Kyle, 38, and Chad Littlefield (Routh’s neighbor and a friend of Kyle’s), 35, were shot point blank at the Rough Creek Lodge shooting range by 25 year old Iraq war veteran Eddie Ray Routh. Routh was suffering from PTSD related symptoms from his service in the Marines. According to his military records Routh served one tour of duty in Iraq in 2007 and also deployed to Hati in 2010 and his current status in the Marines is listed as “Reserve”. According to those close to Chris the shooting range was being used as a coping mechanism for the PTSD symptoms when Routh apparently snapped and opened fire with his pistol. He was arrested after a short chase and is now being held on $3 million bond and has been charged with 2 counts of capital murder.
“What I know is Chris and a gentleman — great guy, I knew him well, Chad Littlefield — took a veteran out shooting who was struggling with PTSD to try to assist him, try to help him, try to, you know, give him a helping hand and he turned the gun on both of them, killing them,” Travis Cox, the director of a nonprofit Kyle helped found said.
The use of the shooting range may be questioned by some but for veterans it is a very common coping mechanism since firearms are so familiar to them and it is a way to both bond and relieve stress. “For us, for warriors, that’s a skill set that has become very familiar, very comfortable for us,” said Lt. Cmdr. Rorke Denver, a lieutenant commander in a reserve SEAL team who served with Chris on SEAL Team 3. “So I actually see it as kind of a perfect use of Chris’ unique skill set and expertise of which he has very few peers.”
Jack Murphy at the Special Operations Forces Situation Report (SOFREP) published a post regarding the tragic murders on Saturday night, reading in part: “Chris had been volunteering his time to help Marine Corps veterans suffering from PTSD and mentoring them. Part of this process involved taking these veterans to the range where one of them snapped and killed Chris and his neighbor for reasons that remain unknown at this time. The perpetrator then stole Chris’ vehicle in an attempt to escape but we have received word that the police have arrested him.”
I looked up to Chris Kyle and looked forward to meeting him one day and his loss hurts. He is and will forever be an American hero that deserves the undying gratitude of a forever grateful nation. He was a man among men and he will truly be missed. My thoughts are with his wife Taya and his two children.
*To those in the media who like to pounce on any tragedy for a bump in ratings, I’m talking to you CNN, if you use his murder to push any agenda other than PTSD awareness I will dedicate this blog to destroying you and any credibility you have left.
RIP Chris Kyle.