Recently, scandal surrounded the medal count of murdered American Sniper author and former Navy SEAL, Chris Kyle. As Fox News reports, American Sniper Chris Kyle rose to fame when his autobiography was turned into a critically acclaimed motion picture of the same name.
In his book, American Sniper, Chris Kyle wrote that he had been the recipient of two Silver Stars during his time as a Navy Seal. Some of his former fellow soldiers called into question Kyle’s claims, saying that while he was definitely a hero, he was exaggerating his medal count. However, the American Sniper author’s claims were consistent with what had been recorded on his Navy DD214 form back in 2009.
Kyle, who was murdered along with a friend in 2013, was suddenly being criticized for “stealing valor” by many. Others thought that his name shouldn’t be besmirched since he is no longer here to defend himself.
Despite critics who believed that Chris Kyle’s claimed military record should be left alone following his death, the Navy has revised the American Sniper’s medal count. Ultimately, Navy officials decided to remove two valor awards from his total. Included among the removed awards is one of his two much-touted Silver Stars.
The move comes in the wake of the controversy surrounding Kyle’s medal count, which many of his former co-workers claimed to have been inflated. It appears that the other members of his Navy SEAL team were correct. In addition to removing one of the Silver Stars from Chris Kyle’s record, the Navy also removed two Bronze Stars from Chris Kyle’s medal count.
The removal of the falsely claimed military valor awards brings American Sniper Chris Kyle’s medal count back down to the level that many other Navy SEALs always claimed it to be.
@TIME I thought those times have long past...when we make heroes out of people who's job is to kill...even when the motive seems right.— Carm C (@lankinhousecac) July 9, 2016
@TIME He was a known liar. Proven in court and by his fellow servicemen— AG (@notunlikeyou) July 9, 2016
According to the Navy, sometimes clerical or other errors lead to erroneous medal counts on DD214 forms. A Navy spokesman, Ensign Marc Rockwellpate, told the media that the Navy did a careful review of all available records related to Christ Kyle, his military service, and his medal count. Upon the records review, the Navy realized that a mistake had been made when it came to tallying Chris Kyle’s medals.
“After thoroughly reviewing all available records, the Navy determined an error was made in the issuance of Chief Petty Officer Chris Kyle’s form DD214. Specifically, the DD214 did not accurately reflect the decorations and awards to which Kyle was officially entitled. After notifying his family of the error, the Navy issued a corrected copy of the DD214, which accurately reflects Kyle’s years of honorable and extraordinary Navy service.”
While the Navy continues to seemingly stand behind former Navy SEAL and renowned American Sniper author Chris Kyle, the Navy can’t seem to explain how Kyle wouldn’t have known that the number reflected on his DD214 was inaccurate.
Nor does the Navy’s investigation indicate why Chris Kyle would have claimed to have received more valor awards than he actually did. Despite the fact that Chris Kyle clearly inflated his medal count for his book, his fans and supporters are upset that the Navy has taken this posthumous action to clear up the situation.
There have been reports that Kyle was well aware that he was inflating his medal count for his autobiography American Sniper, but that he had refused to edit the medal count to reflect the correct number of awards rather than the erroneous number recorded on his DD214.
In addition to removing the one Silver Star and two Bronze Stars from Chris Kyle’s official medal count, the Navy also reported that the American Sniper author hadn’t been given credit for his “Navy expert rifle medal” on the form.
The Navy also made it clear that errors on the DD214 are not uncommon. In fact, in 2015, nearly 3,900 forms required corrections.
However, the fact that Chris Kyle’s form was factually incorrect (a clerical error) still doesn’t explain why the American Sniper would cite the inaccurate medal count in his autobiography.
Chris Kyle was a 10-year Navy vet prior to leaving the SEALs in 2009. He lost his life to another veteran who shot himself and a friend. The man convicted of murdering American Sniper Chris Kyle is currently serving a life sentence and will never have the possibility of being paroled.
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