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Chris Kyle could receive Medal of Honor

Chris Kyle could receive Medal of Honor

…but not everyone supports that

On Thursday, Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas) introduced a bill that would call on the President to honor “American Sniper” Chris Kyle posthumously with the Medal of Honor.

From the Washington Post:

“Chris gave the ultimate sacrifice and served his nation with distinction and bravery while saving countless American lives,” said Williams. “There is no doubt that this true American hero is worthy of our nation’s highest military honor. While the Medal of Honor will not bring back a husband, father, son and a model Texan, we owe Chris Kyle and his family a great deal of gratitude for his relentless devotion to his country.”

Kyle already is highly decorated for his heroism in combat. He received two prestigious Silver Stars, which are two levels below the Medal of Honor, and five Bronze Stars with V device for valor. Kyle left the military in 2009, and released his memoir “American Sniper” in January 2012.

Williams, whose district includes part of the county where Kyle was killed, said in a news release that on a number of occasions, legislation has been introduced to waive restrictions and encourage the president to award the Medal of Honor.

This type of waiver wouldn’t be unprecedented, but it is rare—which means that the move by Rep. Williams is causing a hailstorm of controversy not over Kyle’s record, but over whether or not the Medal of Honor is the appropriate award to honor Kyle and his family for his service both during and after his time in the military. Some say that this move is being fast tracked because of Kyle’s sudden “American Sniper”-fueled popularity, and not by his service overseas.

On “Fox and Friends” this week, vets Howard Wasdin and Carl Higbie explained both sides of the debate. Watch:

Blogger John Lilya agrees with Higbie:

There is no one who is more defensive of Chris Kyle’s legacy than me. I read his book in one sitting the day that it hit my Kindle – the day it was released. I’ve read it twice since then. I was probably the first blogger who knew about his death, but since I couldn’t get get confirmation I held off, if nothing else, out of respect for his family.

Chris Kyle certainly accomplished much more during his career in the military than I did, by comparison, he certainly deserves the Medal of Honor. But, the thing is that he was never considered for the award while he was in the Navy.

Kyle already is highly decorated for his heroism in combat. He received two prestigious Silver Stars, which are two levels below the Medal of Honor, and five Bronze Stars with V device for valor.

There are hundreds of members of the military whose martial biographies are similar, but they don’t have a best selling book and a blockbuster movie, and I get the feeling that is the only reason that Williams is going through all of this because of Kyle’s name recognition. The Routh trial and the success of the movie about Kyle are intersecting at the Medal of Honor.

I’ll leave the debate to the veterans; I’ve never served, and I can’t pretend to understand the deep importance and emotion associated with the kind of awards that men like Chris Kyle earn. All I’ll say is that there’s a lot more to this debate than how we as Americans feel about Chris, his service, and his legacy, and those who choose to enter the conversation should remember that before dragging Kyle’s legacy through another national debate.

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Comments

The Ex-SEALs who rescued people at our Beghazi consulate in the face of 100 to 1 deserve the congressional Medal of Honor. While they weren’t in the millitary at that time this should be overlooked because they were operating as our military in Benghazi and were betrayed by Tyrant Obama the Liar who never sent aid despite the fact that there were forces available that could have been sent. Tyrant Obama the Liar decided to prepare for fundraising rather then save our people.

    Miles in reply to ConradCA. | February 28, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    Sorry, Conrad. the MOH is, by current regulation, only awarded to those who were on active duty in the military at the time of their action(s).

    And it has been that way for quite a long time. The MOH is an especially ‘guarded’ award now, because it has not always been so.

    They could, however, be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, or a Congressional Gold Medal.

    Currently the highest awards bestowed to active military personnel who, for whatever reason, were in the vicinity of the compound in Benghazi are a Distinguished Service Cross and a Navy Cross to an Army NCO and a Marine NCO who were, at the time, operational members of 1st SFOD-D (Delta Force).

      ConradCA in reply to Miles. | February 28, 2015 at 6:32 pm

      Sorry but congress cold bypass that regulation if the chose to do so. An act of congress overrides a regulation.

I think that if Chris were alive he’d be a bit bothered by the ruckus.

He was a military guy I think in every sense. I think he’d say that recommendations for military honors should come up from the military, most particularly from his own chain of command.

He made it very clear in his book why he was doing what he did over his entire career, and it was never about fanfare or distinctions. He was a very highly trained, skilled war-fighter doing a job he really loved doing. His reward was in doing the job and knowing he was doing it effectively. That’s all he ever asked for.

    maxmillion in reply to Ragspierre. | February 28, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    Which in and of itself makes them especially worthy of recognition by objective outside observers, particularly when they perform as admirably as Kyle did.

    Icepilot in reply to Ragspierre. | February 28, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    I agree that Kyle would likely not endorse this effort. In addition, the lawyer/politician aided crossing of every legal, moral, and traditional “line” is already rampant. Let the Navy name a ship after him.

You don’t get the Medal of Honor for doing your job, no matter how well you do it.

If you want to know the level of behavior that calls for a Medal of Honor, look up Col Robert Howard or Lt Audie Murphy.

    Doug Wright Old Grouchy in reply to Sanddog. | February 28, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    Concur, wholly! It should be up to the Navy brass whether that award should be processed. The MoH award must not be politicized.

    OBTW: Also lookup MG Butler, USMC, who was awarded the MoH twice, and the Marine Corps Brevet Medal, for separate actions.

    maxmillion in reply to Sanddog. | February 28, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    “You don’t get the Medal of Honor for doing your job, no matter how well you do it.”

    I agree with the sentiment behind that statement, but I don’t think it’s true, nor should it be. To perform one’s duty in an excellent manner in the face of extraordinarily hostile conditions, so hostile that the ordinary person would’ve been overcome by them, is very MoH-worthy. As a general proposition.

    Kyle did not face those kind of conditions. I say his exploits were well known at the time he did them, and if any of what he did was thought to be worthy of this medal, he would have been nominated at the time.

    aGrimm in reply to Sanddog. | February 28, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    Sanddog: Bingo on “you don’t get the MOH for doing your job”. See my comment below. However, what do you think about docs (medics, corpsmen) getting the MOH? I always felt the expectation that it was our job to go help the fallen comrade, no matter what, and I accepted that as my job description. Reading the MOH citations for many a doc, I am in absolute awe at what they did. However, in the back of my mind a little voice says that it was their job. The louder voice in my mind tells the little voice to “STFU. They earned it”. It is interesting how we can view who deserves the MOH. I’m hard core that it must be reserved only for those who go above and beyond the call of duty.

      Sanddog in reply to aGrimm. | February 28, 2015 at 11:43 pm

      The average soldier/sailor/airman/marine may perform very well under stress, many even heroically but the guy who shows a complete disregard for his own life/safety, time after time, in order to save his brothers and/or complete his mission is an entirely different breed. There’s a reason why so many MOH are awarded posthumously. The guys who are awarded aren’t “average”. They did perform above and beyond the call of duty.

theduchessofkitty | February 28, 2015 at 2:44 pm

I don’t think he would have wanted such honor, even if you ever gave it to him on a sliver platter.

seems to me this one is being done for political purposes.
don’t think this is a good idea here.

Bitterlyclinging | February 28, 2015 at 3:41 pm

Kyle killed how many insurgents, 175 or thereabouts? As far as Obama is concerned, killing one Muslim disqualifies him from receiving the MOH, 100 plus kills definitely rules him out or haven’t you noticed? Most of the MOH’s awarded by Obama have been for acts of heroism saving their fellow soldiers, rather than feats of heroism in combat. No Sargent Yorks have been awarded the MOH, nor have any been awarded for the equivalent of taking out the three Japanese pill boxes guarding the first of the two airfields on Iwo Jima nearest the landing beaches at East Boat Basin with a flame thrower

    Uncle Samuel in reply to Bitterlyclinging. | March 1, 2015 at 6:42 am

    Obama is not qualified to shine a basic recruit’s shoes…or to judge anyone’s service in combat…much less to be Commander in Chief. He’s of a foreign ideology and does not appreciate the Constitution nor law and order.

    Obama has established a chaotic oligarchical thugocracy dictatorship right under the noses of our corrupt legislators…sometimes with their help.

The MOH must never be a popularity contest. It should be recommended only by those who understand and have experience being under fire. There is going to be a fair amount of subjectivity in the decision because the question becomes: at what point did the honoree cross the threshold of bravery “above and beyond the call of duty”?

Standing firm in the face of fire is above the average person’s level of bravery, but it is expected of the soldier. Soldiers accept this level of bravery as normality because they are trained to this level. This is their duty. However, there is no expectation that one must give one’s life to save others. To paraphrase Gen. Patton, the object is to get the other bastard to give up his/her life. Typically the threshold for awarding the MOH is that the soldier knowingly and willingly risked his/her life to save comrades. “Knowing and willingly” is the essence of the “above the call of duty” precept.

Does Chris Kyle’s death cross the “above the call of duty” threshold? I am seeing on most military blogs that combat vets are saying no – a sentiment that as a combat vet I too echo. We wish for the MOH to remain the highest honor and reserved for those who crossed the threshold. It is very, very special.

Each honor awarded by the military has a defined level of doing one’s duty. The awards progressively demonstrate a higher skill at doing one’s duty and/or higher level of bravery demonstrated by the recipient. Those of us saying no to an MOH for Chris do not wish to diminish Chris’s accomplishments in any way. Kyle earned his honors and I am in awe and bow to his achievements just like I do for any soldier who has been awarded the same medals.

I spent 20 years in the Navy. I was not a SEAL. I was Intel, so on a few occasions I supported SEALs. The only “combat” I saw with the SEALs was getting kicked out of the Kadena AFB Officer’s Club (Okinawa) after we got a bit too rowdy celebrating our return from COBRA GOLD in Thailand back in the early ’90s. And from my limited experience I think Chris Kyle would have been embarrassed by this award. There are plenty of them who, by this standard, would deserve the MoH. Probably all of them. I don’t presume to speak for Chris Kyle, but I think he’d be the first one to point that out if somebody proposed this award while he was still alive.

Naming a ship after him isn’t a bad idea. It’s certainly better to name a ship after a SEAL than a politician like Congressman Murtha. The Sailors assigned to the USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26) have contemptuously nicknamed it the Fat Bastard. At least they could be proud of a USS Chris Kyle.

Funny, I just read Chris Kyle talking about how medals were all about politics. This is no exception. He’s popular right now and this politician wants to get some of that popularity.

I love the idea of naming a ship after him.

I feel that the awards that Chief Kyle won while on active duty were sufficient for the job that he did while in the Seals. As far as the MOH I don’t think it’s appropriate under these circumstances. And I think Kyle would agree. Being a Vet I think that the MOH should only be awarded in very special circumstances. I do think the idea of naming a ship after him is absolutely perfect. I’d go so far to say that we name one of the new littoral combat ships after him would be appropriate.

Build him a statue, but don’t give out a Medal of Honor because he was murdered on domestic soil as a private citizen. That’s crossing lines that ought not be crossed.

Chris Kyle was awarded-

2 Silver Stars
5 Bronze Stars for Valor
1 Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal
2 Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals

He was never nominated for the Navy Cross, the second-highest military decoration for valor that may be awarded to a member of the United States Navy.

The Medal of Honor is not awarded based on popularity and, honestly, I do not think Chris Kyle would accept the Medal of Honor for his service were he alive. I imagine he would be a little embarrassed by the suggestion. While I understand people admire him and wish to enshrine him as a legend and role model these efforts are misguided.

Servius wrote:
“Funny, I just read Chris Kyle talking about how medals were all about politics.”

Of the SEALs that I knew, (maybe a dozen) the only thing they really cared about having pinned to their chests was their trident. They also valued the respect of their peers more than medals.

They’re not braggarts or show-offs. That’s one of the best ways to spot a fake. That and they’re few and far between. Including Chris Kyle there are maybe two or three other former SEALs living here in Texas. One of the others being Marcus Luttrell. Figure the odds of running into one.

Now, there’s another guy who should have a ship named after him. Probably the other one (or two). And Chris Kyle would probably be the first to tell you that, too.

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