Friday, April 8, 2016

Remembering Chris Kyle

I’ve been writing about Chris Kyle since I started this blog in 2014. Since the movie “American Sniper” came out, based on Chris’s book he has become better known. I followed his career and the forming of his business with interest. I’ve always been a fan of Carlos Hathcock. He was a Marine sniper during the Viet Nam era who established himself as a Sniper but also established the Sniper program in the Marines as a viable necessity. Chris broke many of his records as far as confirmed kills goes. But Chris also established the Sniper as an important life-saving tool.
I have several friends in special operations communities. Many of them knew Chris very well. Chris Kyle has been accused of many things, and has been called many things. Those that I know who knew him say different.
This is one of two stories you may not know about Chris. It is told by someone who knew him well and wrote about him, Mark Greenblatt.
Visit Mark's website at http://markleegreenblatt.com/ to learn more about Chris Kyle and his daring Fallujah rescue, to read more about the heroes in Mark's book, or to send an email to Chris's family and the other heroes.
By: Mark Lee Greenblatt
“Heavy Contact and Saving the Injured
Two incidents during the Second Battle of Fallujah in November 2004 illustrate this selflessness, this willingness to put himself in grave danger for his comrades. I feel compelled to tell these stories because they reveal Chris's dedication to saving lives, not just taking them.
The first episode occurred in early November 2004. It was during an over-watch mission, in which Chris was providing rooftop cover for Marines clearing buildings below. The Marines encountered a group of enemy fighters, and "heavy contact" erupted. The enemy fell back and barricaded themselves into a house. The Marines were left exposed in the street.
Chris and another SEAL sniper realized they were no longer effective from the rooftop, so they flew down the stairs to support the Marines. By this time, the Marines had barricaded themselves in a building across the street from the insurgents' house.
But two of the Marines had been shot and lay in the road, writhing in pain.
Chris couldn't bear to see the Marines struggling helplessly in the street. "When you see an injured man, you do whatever you can to save him," he told me. As a Navy SEAL amongst a group of "young, eighteen-year-old kids" barely out of basic training, Chris felt he had a special obligation. "It's beaten into your head throughout your training: 'You're the better, more effective warrior.'" That meant he had to go get those Marines, no matter what.
Chris and the other SEAL darted out into the street to the injured men, sprinting twenty yards into a torrent of gunfire. "You can hear the snaps. You know they're close," he said. "You just block it out."
Chris scurried in front of the enemy's hideout and grabbed one of the injured Marines. The man was screaming in pain from gunshots to one arm and both legs, and worse, a devastating gut shot that had somehow slid below his body armor. With bullets filling the air, Chris began to drag him toward safety.
Chris focused on the man he was trying to save, doing his best to block out the rounds that danced at his feet and zipped by his head. "During the heat of it, you're not thinking about it. You know you could get hit at any moment, and they'll put another belly button in [your] forehead . . . but you just put your head down and go do it."
Chris tugged and dragged and pulled the wounded man until they both fell backwards into the alley, finally shielded from the guerillas' fire. He felt the Marine's blood all over his hands. He heard the man's anguished screams, "Don't tell my mom that I died screaming like this!" The screaming continued for a few more agonizing moments.
And then it stopped.
Chris remembered those moments in excruciating detail. "I never met this kid before," he said bitterly, "and he wanted me to tell his mother how he died." Four years later, during our interviews, Chris still couldn't shake the fact that he failed to save that kid's life.”
Thank you Mark for that story. It’s sad that the public can’t see past the violence of war to the people that fight it. They do a thankless job and we should give them the gratitude of a grateful country.
Chris would have been 42 this year. He left a wife and 2 children. Happy Birthday Chris, we’ll always remember!

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