Chris Kyle of American Sniper fame was a Navy SEAL who acted heroically in combat. That part isn't in dispute. He just didn't act as heroically as he claimed in his best-selling book, according to a report at the Intercept. In the book, which was made into a hit film, Kyle writes: "All told, I would end my career as a SEAL with two Silver Stars and five Bronze [Stars], all for valor." But the Intercept examined Navy records and found that Kyle received one Silver Star and three Bronze Stars. That's still an impressive haul given that the Silver Star is the third-highest honor for battlefield conduct, but the Intercept talks to current and former SEALs who say that any kind of embellishment of military action is a serious breach of honor.
"It takes away from the legitimate heroism he showed," says one retired SEAL. The report says a former commander warned Kyle about the discrepancy after reading a manuscript of the book, but Kyle didn't correct it. Another source of confusion: Kyle's official "separation document," or DD214, lists two Silvers and six Bronze medals, though Navy officials couldn't explain that discrepancy. "The form DD214 is generated locally at the command where the service member is separated," a Navy spokesman says. "Although the information on the DD214 should match the official records, the process involves people and inevitably some errors may occur." Read the full Intercept report. (A former Marine was convicted of killng Kyle in 2013.)