‘American Sniper’ Chris Kyle lied about the medals he received as a Navy SEAL

Chris Kyle, whose bestselling memoir was adapted into the blockbuster movie American Sniper, has earned the title of “deadliest sniper in America history.” He claimed to have been awarded two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars during his time as a Navy SEAL, but now that claim is turning out to be false.

According to The Intercept, internal Navy documents show that Kyle only earned one Silver Star and three Bronze Stars.

From The Intercept:

Kyle was warned at least once before American Sniper was published that its description of his medal count was wrong, according to one current Navy officer, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak about the case. As Kyle’s American Sniper manuscript was distributed among SEALs, one of his former commanders, who was still on active duty, advised Kyle that his claim of having two Silver Stars was false, and he should correct it before his book was published.


According to two current Navy officials, inaccurate information about Kyle’s awards is also contained in his separation document, known in the military as a DD214, which usually reflects a veteran’s official service record. Kyle’s DD214 form, which lists two Silver Stars and six Bronze Stars with Valor among his decorations, also differs from the number of Bronze Stars with Valor — five — that Kyle listed in his book.

The Stolen Valor Act of 2013 made it a crime to lie about military decorations or service.

“The SEAL leadership was aware of [Kyle’s lies], but didn’t want to correct the record because Kyle’s celebrity status reflected well on the command,” an ex-SEAL told The Intercept. “Everybody went on a pilgrimage to his funeral at Cowboys Stadium knowing full well his claims weren’t true.”

Back in 2013, Kyle was murdered by Eddie Routh, a former Marine suffering from PTSD who was being mentored by Kyle. About a year later, a jury awarded former governor Jesse Ventura $1.8 million in damages in a defamation suit against Kyle, who claimed he beat up the governor in 2006 bar fight.

[Gawker] Featured image: Paul Moseley (Flickr)

Sky Palma

Before launching DeadState back in 2012, Sky Palma has been blogging about politics, social issues and religion for over a decade. He lives in Los Angeles and also enjoys Brazilian jiu jitsu, chess, music and art.

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