Chris Kyle is a hero in the truest sense of the word. A retired Navy Seal, and bestselling author, he dedicated his life to helping struggling veterans. Tragically, he was killed on Saturday at a shooting range in Glen Rose, Texas, some 50 miles southwest of Ft. Worth. Kyle died doing the work that he was most committed to, trying to help fellow veterans cope civilian life and the lasting effects of PTSD.
On Saturday, Kyle and fellow veteran Chris Littlefield took struggling veteran, Eddie Ray Routh, to the shooting range in hopes it would be therapeutic. But inexplicably, Routh turned on Kyle and Littlefield, killing them both. Sadly, Routh had a history of PTSD.
Kyle was only 38-years-old and Littlefield only 35 at the time of their deaths. They were both so young and had so much to live for. Kyle was by all accounts the most lethal sniper in military history, with a record of 150 kills. But what is most noteworthy about Kyle is his dedication to helping veterans in their struggle with PTSD. He retired in 2009 after four tours in Iraq.
In 2011, Kyle created the FITCO Cares Foundation, with the purpose of helping fellow veterans with a combination of exercise and counseling. PTSD was something Kyle himself was familiar with and he struggled adjusting to civilian life after retiring from the SEALS.
He was deployed to Iraq during the worst part of the insurgency, where he found himself perched on top of bombed out apartment buildings, yielding his .300 Winchester Magnum. He wrote in his book that within two weeks of his first tour, he finally realized the gravity of the situation in Iraq. A was approached by a woman with a child and she pulled out a grenade. He hesitated before firing and killing her.
Kyle was so good at his job that he became a prized target for Iraqi insurgents. They nicknamed him "Devil of Ramadi" and there was a price on his head. Kyle said in a 2012 interview, "what keeps me up at night is not the people that I've killed. It was the people I wasn't able to save."
His book came out in January of last year to critical acclaim and was on the bestseller list for months. But Kyle never took it too seriously. After all, that was not his main mission in life. He was dedicated to his wife and children and helping his fellow veterans.
In the most tragic of situations, Kyle was killed trying to help another veteran struggling with the devastating effects of PTSD. His friend, Travis Cox, the director of FITCO said Kyle was "literally the type of guy if you were a veteran and needed help he'd help you." What a legacy Kyle leaves behind. One of hope and caring for those who are struggling and need to be cared for the most.