American Sniper: The Autobiography Of The Most Lethal Sniper In U.S. Military History Part 68

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WAR

I'm not the same guy I was when I first went to war.

No one is. Before you're in combat, you have this innocence about you. Then, all of a sudden, you see this whole other side of life.

I don't regret any of it. I'd do it again. At the same time, war definitely changes you.

You embrace death.



As a SEAL, you go to the Dark Side. You're immersed in it. Continually going to war, you gravitate to the blackest parts of existence. Your psyche builds up its defenses-that's why you laugh at gruesome things like heads being blown apart, and worse.

Growing up, I wanted to be military. But I wondered, how would I feel about killing someone?

Now I know. It's no big deal.

I did it a lot more than I'd ever thought I would-or, for that matter, more than any American sniper before me. But I also witnessed the evil my targets committed and wanted to commit, and by killing them, I protected the lives of many fellow soldiers.

I don't spend a lot of time philosophizing about killing people. I have a clear conscience about my role in the war.

I am a strong Christian. Not a perfect one-not close. But I strongly believe in G.o.d, Jesus, and the Bible. When I die, G.o.d is going to hold me accountable for everything I've done on earth.

He may hold me back until last and run everybody else through the line, because it will take so long to go over all my sins.

"Mr. Kyle, let's go into the backroom... ."

Honestly, I don't know what will really happen on Judgment Day. But what I lean toward is that you know all of your sins, and G.o.d knows them all, and shame comes over you at the reality that He knows. I believe the fact that I've accepted Jesus as my savior will be my salvation.

But in that backroom or whatever it is when G.o.d confronts me with my sins, I do not believe any of the kills I had during the war will be among them. Everyone I shot was evil. I had good cause on every shot. They all deserved to die.

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.

I'm sure some of the things I went through pale in comparison to what some of the guys went through in World War II and other conflicts. On top of all the s.h.i.+t they went through in Vietnam, they had to come home to a country that spat on them.

When people ask me how the war changed me, I tell them that the biggest thing has to do with my perspective.

You know all the everyday things that stress you here?

I don't give a s.h.i.+t about them. There are bigger and worse things that could happen than to have this tiny little problem wreck your life, or even your day. I've seen them.

More: I've lived them.

Acknowledgments

This book would never have been possible without my brother SEALs, who supported me in battle and throughout my career in the Navy. And I wouldn't be here without the SEALs, sailors, Marines, airmen, and soldiers who had my back during the war.

I'd also like to thank my wife, Taya, for helping me write this book and making her own contributions. My brother and my parents supplied their memories as well as their support. Several of my friends also kindly provided information that was invaluable. Among those who were especially helpful were one of my lieutenants and a fellow sniper who appear as LT and Dauber in this book, respectively. Marc Lee's mom also helped with some key insights.

Special thanks and appreciation go to Jim DeFelice for his patience, wit, understanding, and writing ability. Without his help, this book would not be what it is today. I also want to express my sincere appreciation to Jim's wife and son for opening their home to Taya and me as this book developed.

We worked on this book in a variety of places. None matched the comfort of Marc Myers's ranch, which he very generously allowed us to use while we worked.

Scott McEwen recognized the value of my story before I did, and played a critical role in bringing it to print.

I'd like to thank my editor, Peter Hubbard, who contacted me directly about writing this book and connected us with Jim DeFelice. Thanks also to the entire staff at William Morrow/HarperCollins.

About the Authors

SEAL TEAM 3 CHIEF CHRIS KYLE served four combat tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom and elsewhere. For his bravery in battle, he was awarded two Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars with Valor, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, and one Navy and Marine Corps Commendation. Additionally, he received the Grateful Nation Award, given by the Jewish Inst.i.tute for National Security Affairs. Following his combat deployments, he became chief instructor for training Naval Special Warfare Sniper and Counter-Sniper teams, and he auth.o.r.ed the Naval Special Warfare Sniper Doctrine, the first Navy SEAL sniper manual. Today, he is president of Craft International (www.craftintl.com), a world-cla.s.s leader in training and security. He lives with his family in Texas, where he devotes much of his spare time to helping disabled veterans.

SCOTT MCEWEN is a trial lawyer in San Diego, California. An Eagle Scout, he grew up hunting with long-range rifles in Oregon.

JIM DEFELICE is the author of Omar Bradley: General at War, the first in-depth critical biography of America's last five-star general. He also writes a number of acclaimed military thrillers, including the Rogue Warrior series from Richard Marcinko, founder of SEAL Team 6, and the novels in the Dreamland series with Dale Brown.

American Sniper: The Autobiography Of The Most Lethal Sniper In U.S. Military History Part 68

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