On this day, February 2, 2013, former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle was murdered while on a Texas gun range south of Ft. Worth with his friend Chad Littlefield.  The killer of the two men was a former Marine whom they were trying to help overcome post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  The Marine, Eddie Ray Routh, has since been found guilty of the murders of the two men and was sentenced to life in prison.

Last year, Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared February 2nd to be Texas Military Heroes Day, as well as Chris Kyle Day, in honor of the Texas native.  Kyle was of course a Navy SEAL sniper, wrote a best-selling book “American Sniper” and was the subject of a Clint Eastwood-directed movie based on the same book.

Kyle’s widow and estate have also been the subject of a long-running legal feud with former Navy SEAL Jesse Ventura, who accused Kyle of defamation for a story written in “American Sniper.”  A judge has since thrown out the verdict that was in Ventura’s favor.  He lost again on subsequent appeal.

SOFREP’s own Eric Davis has written about Chris — here — and Kyle appeared in some early SOFREP webcast videos before his death.  He has also been the subject of some controversy for allegedly exaggerating how many military awards he received while in the SEAL Teams, and for other remarks he made regarding his role in New Orleans, post-Hurricane Katrina.  The U.S. Navy has since gone back and amended Kyle’s service record.

Kyle’s friend Chad H. Littlefield, of note, was 35 when he was killed by Routh, just days shy of his 36th birthday.  Per Time magazine reporting, Littlefield was tragically in the wrong place at the wrong time that day, as he was a neighbor and workout partner of Kyle’s who also happened to go to the range that day.  He was also reportedly a veteran, and worked for an oil services firm as a logistics and facilities manager.  Littlefield left behind a wife and daughter upon his death.

Kyle was buried in Austin, TX, at the Texas State Cemetery, after a memorial service attended by thousands at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas.  Littlefield was buried at Mount Zion Cemetery, in Midlothian, TX, after a funeral service at the First Baptist Church of Midlothian.

May we never forget either man, and may we remember them as much for what they were trying to do when they died — help a damaged brother serviceman — as for what they did in their active duty military careers and beyond.

And may we keep their families and loved ones in our prayers, as they will surely feel the pain of their absence every single day going forward.

Rest in peace.

(photo courtesy of YouTube)