Following an investigation, the Navy removed three medals from famed SEAL Sniper Chris Kyle’s official military record, including one Silver Star and two Bronze Stars.
“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,” Navy spokesman Ensign Marc Rockwellpate said in a statement to USA Today.
“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.”
Investigators did not blame Kyle, who was tragically murdered in 2013 at a Texas gun range, for the clerical error. There was no evidence that Kyle tampered with the document. In fact, it appears that this is not the first time the Navy has had to make corrections.
“In 2015 alone the Navy corrected more than 3,800 DD-214s,” said Navy spokesman Ens. Marc Rockwellpate in an interview with the Navy Times.
Those close to Kyle defended his accomplishments during his service to our country. Jim DeFelice, one of the co-authors of Kyle’s book, “American Sniper,” chalked up the error to sloppy record-keeping.
“In revising the discharge documents, the Navy is now admitting to sloppy record-keeping, either in 2009 or today,” DeFelice said in an email to the Navy Times. “However, I find it difficult to believe their records have become more complete in the years since the discharge papers were first issued.
“I don’t know who or what or why things got fouled up, but the bottom line is this: Chris saved countless lives on the battlefield, was awarded numerous medals for valor, and should have gotten even more,” he continued.
Kyle’s widow, Taya, did no comment on the decision to lower Chris’s medal count.
While many are quick to point out what Chris didn’t do during his service, perhaps we should take a look briefly at what his verified Silver Star citation says about his actions on the battlefield in 2006.
“Petty Officer Kyle’s heroic actions, professionalism and incredible sniper skills had tremendous impact in the success of U.S. and Iraqi Forces in routing the insurgency and seizing key areas of the City of Ar Ramadi, the epicenter of Al Qaeda and insurgent activity in Iraq,” the citation reads. “During 32 sniper overwatch missions, he personally accounted for 91 confirmed enemy fighters killed and dozens more probably killed or wounded.”