Chris Kyle, the U.S. Navy SEAL profiled in the movie “American Sniper,” embellished his military record, according to documents uncovered by The Intercept on Wednesday.
Kyle (pictured on the left above) is considered the deadliest sniper in American military history, and according to his autobiography he claimed to have been awarded two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars for valor. However, Navy documents indicate he received one Silver Star and three Bronze Stars with valor.
A Navy officer had reportedly warned Kyle about errors in his medal counts prior to the publishing of his manuscript.
Not only an ethical violation among those who serve, it is also a criminal offense to fraudulently claim to military decorations.
“It takes away from the legitimate heroism he showed,” said a retired SEAL to The Intercept.
“American Sniper,” the movie based on Kyle’s service during the Iraq War, was a record-breaking success. Its massive debut more than doubled the prior January mark for a three-day debut, ultimately bringing in over $350 million domestically. The film was the highest grossing of 2014, even surpassing “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I.”
Kyle was murdered by fellow war veteran Eddie Ray Routh, who was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The double homicide was featured in the final minutes of the Oscar-winning film, as Kyle, played by Bradley Cooper, said goodbye to his wife (Sienna Miller) for the last time to go to the gun range with Routh and another friend. Routh’s mother had asked Kyle to help her son with his PTSD.