Christopher Scott “Chris” Kyle “Devil of Ramadi” (April 8, 1974 – February 2, 2013)
A United States Navy SEAL and known as the most lethal sniper in American military history, with 160 confirmed kills (out of 255 claimed kills), although these statistics have not been released by the Pentagon.
When Kyle was 8, his father taught him to shoot. As a youth, he trained as a bronco rider for the rodeo, which he gave up after a serious injury to his arm. He had intended to volunteer and enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps, and was recruited by the U.S. Army, but eventually enlisted with the U.S. Navy. Kyle served four tours in the second Iraq war, and was awarded the Bronze and Silver Star medals multiple times. Iraqi insurgents dubbed him the “Devil of Ramadi” and offered an increasing bounty for his head. He was shot twice, and was involved in six IED attacks.
Kyle decided to spend time with his family and was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy in 2009. He remained in the spotlight after leaving the Navy and wrote a New York Times bestselling autobiography, American Sniper. Kyle was shot and killed at a shooting range by a fellow veteran on February 2, 2013, near Chalk Mountain, Texas.
Assigned to SEAL Team 3, Sniper Element Charlie platoon within the Naval Special Warfare Command, and with over four tours of duty, Kyle served in many major battles of the Iraq War. His first long-range kill shot was taken during the initial invasion, when he shot a woman approaching a group of Marines with a hand grenade in her hand. As ordered, he opened fire, killing the woman before she could attack.
For his deadly track record as a marksman during his deployment to Ramadi, the insurgents named him Shaitan Ar-Ramadi (English: The Devil of Ramadi), and put a $20,000 bounty on his head that was later increased to $80,000.
In 2008, outside Sadr City, he made his longest successful shot, after he spotted an insurgent with a rocket launcher near a U.S. Army convoy at a range of 2,100 yards (1.9 km). He fired a shot from his .338 Lapua Magnum-chambered McMillan TAC-338 sniper rifle, killing the insurgent as told in his book American Sniper. During four tours of duty in Iraq, Kyle was shot twice and caught up in six separate IED explosions. His other weapons included the Mk 12 sniper rifle, M4 carbine and a .300 Winchester Magnum sniper rifle.
Kyle left the U.S. Navy in 2009, and moved to Midlothian, Texas, with his wife, Taya, and two children. He ran Craft International, which provides military, law-enforcement, and civilian training, as well as private security and protection until his death. In 2012, Harper Collins released Kyle’s autobiographical book American Sniper. Kyle also paired with FITCO Cares Foundation, a non-profit organization which created the Heroes Project to provide free in-home fitness equipment, individualized programs, personal training, and life-coaching to in-need veterans with disabilities, Gold Star families, or those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. On August 13, 2012, Kyle appeared on the reality television show Stars Earn Stripes, which features celebrities pairing up with a special operations or law enforcement professional who will train them in weapons and combat tactics. Kyle was teamed with actor Dean Cain.