About this sample
About this sample
Words: 1359 |
7 min read
Published: May 14, 2021
Words: 1359|Pages: 3|7 min read
American Sniper, an autobiography by Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, describes his life of service to his country, his family, and God. He tells thrilling stories about his experiences in war that gives a very realistic view of war in the Middle East. He served through four deployments in Operation Iraqi Freedom and others. Among his commendations are two Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars with Valor, and Marine Corps Achievement Medals.
The book starts with Chris recalling his childhood in north-central Texas. He was born on April 8th, 1974. His parents, Wayne and Deby, taught him the values of patriotism, self-reliance, and watching out for your family and friends from a young age. “I have a strong sense of justice. It’s pretty much black-and-white. I don’t see too much gray. I think it’s important to protect others. I don’t mind hard work. At the same time, I like to have fun. Life’s too short not to”. He also grew up, and still is, a firm believer in God. He says that his priorities in life fall like this - God, County, Family. Chris naturally became a country boy, taking a liking to the outdoors. As a teen he became a cowboy, learning to bust horses. He even began to compete in rodeos around age 16. “I played sports in high school - baseball and football - but nothing compared to the excitement of the rodeo”. He continued to ride in 1992, when he graduated high school and went to Tarleton State University. In college he gave thought to careers such as a ranch manager or the military. While he went to school full-time, he also served as a ranch-hand for a man named David Landrum. He did that until 1996 when he quit school, stopped ranching and made his way to the recruiters. He enlisted for the Navy, but was turned down because he had metal pins in his arm from a rodeo accident. He went back to working as a ranch-hand until 1998, when the recruiter called him and said they wanted him.
Chris went through basic training and boot camp with ease. “I remember calling my dad at one point and saying that basic was easy compared to ranch work. That wasn’t a good thing. I’d joined the Navy to be a SEAL and challenge myself. Instead I got fat and out of shape”. His next step was BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL), a brutal training school to become a SEAL. He survived the notorious Hell Week, 132 hours straight of beat-down training drills, and graduated BUD/S. His top choice was to join SEAL Team 3, and that’s exactly where he went. That spring of 2001 turned out to be quite eventful because on his vacation he met his future wife, Taya. “I don’t know if you believe in love at first sight; I don’t think I did before the night in April 2001 when I saw Taya standing at a bar in a San Diego club, talking with one of my friends”. They started regularly talking after that, though Chris was training on the East Coast. When he returned, they started seeing each other regularly. Right before Chris’s first deployment, he and Taya got married. When he shipped out of the Middle East, he had his first overseas encounters in the Persian Gulf. They spent time boarding and searching ships. In the first couple months Chris worked with the Polish GROM - Special Military Formation GROM of the Dark and Silent Parachutists of the Polish Army. One particular ship Chris tells about boarding was a North Korean freighter. They were preparing to take the ship when the Spanish came out of nowhere and did it for them so the SEALS just had to get on the ship and find the Scud missiles it was carrying. Chris recounts moving eighty-pound bags of cement for twenty-four hours. He and his mates were covered in concrete dust by the time they uncovered the fifteen scuds. “God knows what my lungs looked like”. After that they were shipped the Kuwait to prepare for war. On March 20, 2003, Chris and his boys loaded into a plane that would take them to war. They’d been practicing for Operation Iraqi Freedom for weeks, and had been anticipating war for months. They flew in at night, tasked with hitting Iraqi oil reserves. They hit the ground and Chris got the taste of war he’d been dying for. “F-ck, I thought to myself, this is great. I f-cking love this. It’s nerve wracking and exciting and I f-cking love it”. That proved to be his attitude most of that deployment as he and his team killed Saddam’s extremists in firefights and skirmishes.
Coming home was a struggle for Chris. He’d have to stay home without really doing anything for a week just to adjust. “That first week I’d always just stay home with Taya and keep to myself. Only after that would I start seeing family and friends”. It was after his first deployment that Chris attended Sniper School. He wasn’t the best sniper in his class. Actually, he failed the practice test. He practiced and learned techniques that would make him a good sniper. Before his second deployment, He and Taya decided to start a family. It was then that they had their son.
In September 2004, Chris was sent overseas to Baghdad a month ahead of his platoon to work with GROM. Now that Saddam Hussein’s regime had fallen, Iraq was filled with Insurgents, bad guys from one of many terrorist groups. Chris and GROM’s job was to clear as many insurgents out of Baghdad as possible. This went on until he was moved to the city of Fallujah as a sniper. This is where Chris really began to make an impact. There were so many insurgents, he began to rack up two or three kills per day. The mentality was kill or be killed. They did so much killing there that they began to make fun of it. Chris says it was hilarious when he shot beach balls that insurgents were floating on to cross the river. “I shot at the first beach ball. Snap. I shot at beach ball number two. It was kind of fun. Hell-it was a lot of fun. The insurgents were fighting among themselves, their ingenious plan to kill Americans now turned against them”. As the second deployment came to an end, Chris had put up some substantial numbers. After this, his military career went on to carry him through some life changing experiences. On his third deployment in Ramadi, he and his close buddy Ryan were overwatching a ground team when suddenly bullets started flying at them. He and Ryan hit the deck, but Ryan got hit in the face by a ricocheted bullet. Luckily he survived, but he was permanently blinded in both eyes. Chis was really scared, and the event left a deep impression on him. He remained friends with Ryan, and reconnected with him after his third deployment. Following the birth of his second child, Chris went back for a fourth and final deployment. It was mostly uneventful except for almost being shot in a hellstorm of bullets in Sadr City. Also during this deployment he was promoted to Chief Petty Officer. After returning home in August 2009, Chris decided not to reenlist for his family’s sake. Even though he wasn’t fighting, his service to his country didn’t stop there. He started Craft International - a school for tactical training for military and police.
The book ends with Chris describing how war has changed him and how loss has affected him. “My regrets are about the people I couldn’t save Marines, soldiers, my buddies. I still feel their loss. I still ache for my failure to protect them. I’m not naive and I’m beyond romanticizing war and what I had to do there, the worst moments of my life have come as a SEAL. Losing my buddies. Having a kid die on me”. That’s the life of Chris Kyle. After he wrote American Sniper, Chris was tragically shot and killed trying to help a homeless veteran in 2013.
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