I would love for people to be able to think of me as a guy who stood up for what he believed in and helped make a difference for the vets, mused Chris Kyle, Navy SEAL veteran just days before he was shot and killed. Kyle made a difference, no mistaking it. The slain former Navy SEAL was recognized as the deadliest sniper in U.S.
history, racking up 160 confirmed kills (Kyle claimed a total of 255, and though the others could not be officially confirmed, I am inclined to take the straight-talking Texan at his word). To put Chris Kyle s record into perspective, the legendary Vietnam War sniper, Carlos Hathcock , scored only 93 confirmed kills. In Iraq, where from his sniper perch he overlooked and protected American men and women down in the streets below, he was known to our enemy as Shaitan Ar-Ramadi : The Devil of Ramadi .
In 2008, outside Sadr City (a deadly Shiite slum in Bagdad), he made his longest successful shot, taking out an insurgent he spotted about to fire a rocket launcher at a U.S. Army convoy in the street. He did this from a range of 2,100 yards, or 1.2 miles away!
When asked if he had any regrets concerning his actions in Iraq, he said his only regrets were for those Americans he couldn t save . Just how many of his fellow men-and-women in uniform he saved can never be calculated. But the number must certainly be prodigious.
It was not just as a warrior that Chris Kyle served his comrades. After returning to civilian life, Kyle paired with FITCO Cares Foundation, a non-profit organization which created the Heroes Project to provide free personal training and life-coaching to in-need veterans with disabilities, Gold Star families, or those suffering from Post-Tramatic Stress Disorder 1 (PTSD). It was while attempting to help one such lost soul suffering from PTSD that Chris Kyle was gunned down.
Kyle and a companion, Chad Littlefield, were killed on Saturday, February 2, 2013, at the Rough Creek Lodge shooting range in Texas. The Marine Corps veteran they were attempting to rehabilitate, Eddie Ray Routh, allegedly turned his gun on his two mentors, before fleeing the scene. Routh was soon apprehended and is awaiting arraignment.
While looking at the images of both Chris Kyle and his scruffy, scrawny alleged killer I found myself musing about other great warriors and heroes who were struck down through treachery by men not fit to carry their boots (or sandals, in centuries past). Seldom does the mighty Hector fall to the spear of the even greater Achilles in glorious single combat. That is the stuff of immortal legend, the death in battle warriors throughout the ages dream of (the Spartans called such a death Kalos Thenatos : The Beautiful Death ).
Yet all too often the mighty are laid low by the most lowly. Achilles slew noble Hector, only to be struck down, from afar, by the poisoned arrow of Hector s cowardly brother, Paris. Other heroes who died to a wretch s hand come to mind: Western hero Wild Bill Hickok, shot down from behind (while playing cards) by a worthless drifter to whom he had, just the previous day, given money to the man so he could buy himself a meal.
Richard the Lionheart , struck down by a lowly crossbowman from afar while besieging a rebellious nobleman s castle. Medieval Japan s greatest Samurai, Minamoto no Yoshitsune , hounded to death by his jealous (politician) brother s assassins. The noble and heroic Chevalier Bayard , the knight sans peur et sans reproche ( without fear and beyond reproach ); who was shot in the back by a harquebusier (soldier armed with a16th century match-lock firearm) lurking in a tree!
Julius Caesar , stabbed to death on the floor of the Roman Senate by a cabal of men, all of whom owed him debts of gratitude and friendship. Crazy Horse , the mighty (and mystical) Lakota war chief; bayoneted in cowardly fashion by his US Army guards while under arrest. Shaka , king and founder of the Zulu Empire, held down and murdered by his own ungrateful relatives.
The mighty Viking hero, Ragnar Lodbrok ( Hairy Breeks ), captured by the Northumbrians after being shipwrecked; and subsequently thrown into a pit of poisonous snakes. Though he did not find his kalos thenatos , Chris Kyle will not be forgotten. In life his deeds on-and-off the battlefield were, as the ancient Greeks would say, aoidimos: worthy of being sung .
He authored the 2012 best-selling book American Sniper ; certain to be the source for a future motion picture. Such will no doubt immortalize Chris as certainly for today s audience as Homer s poetry did in its day for Achilles. Rudyard Kipling, Poet Laureate of the British Empire, wrote what it meant to be a man , in his famous poem, IF : If you can keep your head when all about youAre losing theirs and blaming it on you;If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,But make allowance for their doubting too:If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,Or, being lied about, don t deal in lies,Or being hated don t give way to hating,And yet don t look too good, nor talk too wise If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,Or walk with Kings nor lose the common touch,If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,If all men count with you, but none too much:If you can fill the unforgiving minuteWith sixty seconds worth of distance run,Yours is the Earth and everything that s in it,And which is more you ll be a Man, my son!
I think Kipling would agree that Chris Kyle was, indeed, a man. The world is poorer today for his passing. Like this: Be the first to like this. .
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References ^ Post-Tramatic Stress Disorder (en.wikipedia.org)
Eighteen thousand British servicemen and women are to receive redundancy notices under the new wave of defence cuts. It has now been discovered that the country’s Ministry of Defence ( MoD ) will make a single vast cut of 18,000 soldiers, in a attempt to reduce the amy to just 86,000 members, its smallest size since the Napoleonic wars, while another 4,000 UK soldiers will also lose their jobs before 2020. Cutbacks issued by the MoD will include the loss of historical regiments, which is believed to shake the British army.
The vast cuts will affect every branch and regiment of the Regular Army. Thousands of troops will be forced to go from their regiments such as the Royal Welsh, the Royal Fusiliers, Light Dragoons and the Royal Engineers, the Royal Lancers and the Army Air Corps, which includes Queen Elizabeth’s grandson Prince Harry among its members. The section called the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, is due to lose 600 of its most skilled personnel and at the same time, the Royal Logistics Corps will be greatly affected.
Serving UK soldiers, military experts and MPs have condemned the drastic cutting measures as a stab in the back for members of the British Armed Forces.
An emotional return for the troops from the 1 Royal Tank Regiment to RAF Honington.Friends and family were there to welcome them home after a long stretch in Afghanistan. Lance Corporal Dan Wenlock and Archie Wenlock There were tears of joy and relief at RAF Honington as family and friends gathered to welcome home the first wave of troops from Afghanistan. Twenty-one soldiers from 1 Royal Tank Regiment s G Squadron returned to their Suffolk base last night (Wednesday) after being deployed in the Helmand Province on Operation Herrick for the past six months, as part of the 12th Mechanized Brigade.
Wives, girlfriends, mothers and children watched proudly as their loved ones, led by three pipers, marched along the runway and back into their arms. Waiting for her husband, Lance-Corporal Tony Knowles, was Kim with her baby daughter Amber. She said: Tony went away just five days after Amber was born, so he hasn t seen her since then, which has been very tough for both of us.
It has also been hard living with the worry every time there s a report of soldiers getting killed or injured in Afghanistan. I m just relieved to have him back. L-Cpl Knowles added: It was the hardest thing I have ever done driving away when Amber was so tiny.
She has grown so much, I can t believe it. Another father, who has only seen his baby Kali on Facebook, was Corporal Semi Navuku. He said he was delighted to be reunited with his family.
Lance-Corporal Marcus Courtney was met by his anxious parents, Lesley and Richard, who had travelled from Plymouth to be reunited with their son. Lesley said: He loves his home comforts so I was quite shocked when he said he was joining the Army. He still tries to get home most weekends so it has been particularly difficult being apart for six months.
L-Cpl Courtney added: It s amazing to be back and I can t wait to be able to sleep on a comfortable mattress with a big TV and a bottle of Jack Daniels. While in Afghanistan, G Squadron have been using a heavily armoured patrol vehicle, known as a Mastiff, to bring firepower and armoured support wherever it is needed. They have been involved in fighting insurgents, patrolling towns and providing protection for the troops on the ground.
Fortunately, they have managed to complete the six-month operation without incurring any major injuries. Troop leader, Captain Pete Eadon, 26, whose dad Phil, mum Anne and sister Sarah had made the journey from Newcastle to greet him last night, said: It s been much harder for the people who are left behind at home because they don t know where their loved ones are, or what they are doing. It s wonderful to be back and to have a reception like this.
A total of 232 soldiers from the Royal Tank Regiment have been stationed in Afghanistan and 110 of those are from G Squadron.
Another 18 were due to return to Honington on Friday , and on November 28 they will all gather at St Edmundsbury Cathedral for a homecoming parade and operation medal ceremony.