‘American Sniper’ Chris Kyle Never Earned Second Silver Star, Navy Says

Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A Navy review has determined that SEAL Chris Kyle did not earn a second Silver Star for valor as he claimed in his bestselling book "American Sniper."

In late May, the Navy acknowledged discrepancies in two sets of Kyle's official Navy records, which differed on whether he had earned one or two Silver Stars for valor. A detailed review of those records now shows he earned just one Silver Star. The review also reduced the number of Bronze Star medals that he had earned for valor during tours in Iraq to four.

"After thoroughly reviewing all available records, the Navy determined an error was made in the issuance of Chief Petty Officer Chris Kyle's form DD214 (report of separation from military service)," said Ensign Mark Rockwellpate, a Navy spokesman. That original form said Kyle had earned two Silver Stars as well as six Bronze Star medals for valor.

"Specifically, the DD214 did not accurately reflect the decorations and awards to which Kyle was officially entitled," said Rockwellpate. "After notifying his family of the error, the Navy issued a corrected copy of the DD214, which accurately reflects Kyle's years of honorable and extraordinary Navy service."

The corrected DD214 form reflects that Kyle earned one Silver Star and four Bronze Stars for his tours of combat in Iraq.

In "American Sniper," Kyle said he had received two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars for valor. The best-selling book of his exploits as an elite sniper in Iraq was turned into a successful movie starring Bradley Cooper in 2014.

The review also resolved the number of Bronze Stars that Kyle earned during his combat tours. While he claimed in his book that he had earned five Bronze Stars, the Navy's original DD214 reported he had earned six of the medals, while another set of records indicated he had earned three. The Navy's review has concluded that he earned four Bronze Stars.

When the discrepancy between the two sets of records was first reported in late May, the Navy did not address the veracity of Kyle's claims in his book about how many medals he had earned. Instead officials only acknowledged that there was a discrepancy in the two sets of official records.

At the time, a Navy spokesperson said that while the information "on the DD214 should match the official records, the process involves people and inevitably some errors may occur. "

“We don’t know how these errors occurred,” a Navy official said today. But errors in the DD214 separation form appear to be common. The official noted that in 2015 the Navy made 3,800 corrections to the separation forms of the 40,000 sailors who left the service that year.

Kyle was killed in February 2013 at a shooting range in Texas by a veteran with PTSD whom he had been mentoring.

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