American Sniper

By: Chris Kyle

American Sniper

The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History



Chris Kyle

with Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice





Dedication

I dedicate this book to my wife, Taya, and my kids for sticking it out with me. Thanks for still being here when I got home.

I’d also like to dedicate it to the memory of my SEAL brothers Marc and Ryan, for their courageous service to our country and their undying friendship to me. I will bleed for their deaths the rest of my life.




Author’s Note

 The events that happened in this book are true, recounted from the best of my memory. The Department of Defense, including high-ranking U.S.N. personnel, reviewed the text for accuracy and sensitive material. Even though they cleared the book for publication, this does not mean they like everything they read. But this is my story, not theirs. We’ve reconstructed dialogue from memory, which means that it may not be word for word. But the essence of what was said is accurate.

 No classified information was used in the preparation of this book. The Pentagon’s Office of Security Review and the Navy requested that certain changes be made for security reasons. Those requests were all honored.

 Many of the people I served with are still active-duty SEALs. Others are working in different capacities for the government, protecting our nation. All may be considered enemies by our country’s enemies, as am I. Because of that, I have not given their full identities in this book. They know who they are, and I hope they know they have my thanks.

—C.K.





Prologue

Evil in the Crosshairs


Late March 2003. In the area of Nasiriya, Iraq

I looked through the scope of the sniper rifle, scanning down the road of the tiny Iraqi town. Fifty yards away, a woman opened the door of a small house and stepped outside with her child.

The rest of the street was deserted. The local Iraqis had gone inside, most of them scared. A few curious souls peeked out from behind curtains, waiting. They could hear the rumble of the approaching American unit. The Marines were flooding up the road, marching north to liberate the country from Saddam Hussein.

It was my job to protect them. My platoon had taken over the building earlier in the day, sneaking into position to provide “overwatch”—prevent the enemy from ambushing the Marines as they came through.

It didn’t seem like too difficult a task—if anything, I was glad the Marines were on my side. I’d seen the power of their weapons and I would’ve hated to have to fight them. The Iraq army didn’t stand a chance. And, in fact, they appeared to have abandoned the area already.

The war had started roughly two weeks before. My platoon, “Charlie” (later “Cadillac”) of SEAL Team 3, helped kick it off during the early morning of March 20. We landed on al-Faw Peninsula and secured the oil terminal there so Saddam couldn’t set it ablaze as he had during the First Gulf War. Now we were tasked to assist the Marines as they marched north toward Baghdad.

I was a SEAL, a Navy commando trained in special operations. SEAL stands for “SEa, Air, Land,” and it pretty much describes the wide ranges of places we operate. In this case, we were far inland, much farther than SEALs traditionally operated, though as the war against terror continued, this would become common. I’d spent nearly three years training and learning how to become a warrior; I was ready for this fight, or at least as ready as anyone can be.

The rifle I was holding was a .300 WinMag, a bolt-action, precision sniper weapon that belonged to my platoon chief. He’d been covering the street for a while and needed a break. He showed a great deal of confidence in me by choosing me to spot him and take the gun. I was still a new guy, a newbie or rookie in the Teams. By SEAL standards, I had yet to be fully tested.

I was also not yet trained as a SEAL sniper. I wanted to be one in the worst way, but I had a long way to go. Giving me the rifle that morning was the chief’s way of testing me to see if I had the right stuff.

We were on the roof of an old rundown building at the edge of a town the Marines were going to pass through. The wind kicked dirt and papers across the battered road below us. The place smelled like a sewer—the stench of Iraq was one thing I’d never get used to.

“Marines are coming,” said my chief as the building began to shake. “Keep watching.”

I looked through the scope. The only people who were moving were the woman and maybe a child or two nearby.

I watched our troops pull up. Ten young, proud Marines in uniform got out of their vehicles and gathered for a foot patrol. As the Americans organized, the woman took something from beneath her clothes, and yanked at it.

She’d set a grenade. I didn’t realize it at first.

“Looks yellow,” I told the chief, describing what I saw as he watched himself. “It’s yellow, the body—”

“She’s got a grenade,” said the chief. “That’s a Chinese grenade.”

“Shit.”

“Take a shot.”

“But—”

“Shoot. Get the grenade. The Marines—”

I hesitated. Someone was trying to get the Marines on the radio, but we couldn’t reach them. They were coming down the street, heading toward the woman.

“Shoot!” said the chief.

I pushed my finger against the trigger. The bullet leapt out. I shot. The grenade dropped. I fired again as the grenade blew up.

It was the first time I’d killed anyone while I was on the sniper rifle. And the first time in Iraq—and the only time—I killed anyone other than a male combatant.

It was my duty to shoot, and I don’t regret it. The woman was already dead. I was just making sure she didn’t take any Marines with her.

It was clear that not only did she want to kill them, but she didn’t care about anybody else nearby who would have been blown up by the grenade or killed in the firefight. Children on the street, people in the houses, maybe her child . . .

She was too blinded by evil to consider them. She just wanted Americans dead, no matter what.

My shots saved several Americans, whose lives were clearly worth more than that woman’s twisted soul. I can stand before God with a clear conscience about doing my job. But I truly, deeply hated the evil that woman possessed. I hate it to this day.

Savage, despicable evil. That’s what we were fighting in Iraq. That’s why a lot of people, myself included, called the enemy “savages.” There really was no other way to describe what we encountered there.

People ask me all the time, “How many people have you killed?” My standard response is, “Does the answer make me less, or more, of a man?”

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