Texas Governor Greg Abbott yesterday, Thursday, Aug. 27 in Austin, Texas, awarded posthumously the medal of honor to “American Sniper” Chris Kyle and Lieutenant Colonel Ed Dyess, according to NBCDFW television of Dallas today, Friday, Aug. 28. Abbott, the 48th governor of the Lone Star State and the first born in Wichita Falls, Texas, presented the award to Kyle’s widow, Taya Kyle. Kyle was the subject of the 2014 hit movie “American Sniper.” Ironically, Kyle was tragically killed along with friend Chad Littlefield at an Erath County gun range in 2013.
Kyle was arguably the greatest sniper in American history. He recorded 160 confirmed kills, based on 255 claimed wills. No one has ever had more in U.S. military history. His bravery was unquestioned as he served as a Navy SEAL in four tours of duty in the last Iraq war. The award that his wife accepted for him Thursday was the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor. He has already received a slew of other honors including the Bronze and Silver Star.
Clint Eastwood directed the much-honored movie “American Sniper” which packed theaters across the United States with admirers of the legendary sniper. Kyle also wrote the New York Times bestselling book, American Sniper, which told the romantic story of him and his wife. The book was told from two different points of view alternating between Taya’s thoughts and her husband’s. Kyle was later murdered at a shooting range by a U.S. millitary veteran he was trying to help on February 2, 2013 in Texas. A dramatic trial in which the defendant was found guilty of Kyle’s and Littlefield’s murder was held in Stephenville, Texas.
William Edwin Dyess was a World War II flier who served as commander of all flying squadrons on Bataan in the Asian Theater. In March of 1942, he sank a Japanese ship and severely damaged shore installations. Although he could have been evacuated as enemy forces closed in, he refused to leave his men behind. In a remarkable show of bravery, Dyess allowed himself to be captured along with the rest of his men at the surrender. He also survived the horrors of the Bataan Death March and imprisonment at several Japanese camps. He was incarcerated at O’Donnell, Cabanatuan and the Davao Penal Colony. He courageously escaped from Davao with several other prisoners on April 4, 1943. After contacting Filipino guerrillas they made their way to the submarine Trout on July 23. After regaining his health at a hospital in Virginia he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and resumed flying on December 22, 1943. He was killed that same day in Burbank, CA, attempting an emergency landing. He was buried in his hometown Albany, Texas. Gov. Abbott presented Dyess’ award to members of his family.
Elizabeth Denman, sister to William, said he would’ve been 99 this month. Abbott further said the hero sold newspapers and worked at a filling station in order to earn money to pay for flying lessons.
Christopher Scott Kyle was born and raised in Texas and was a US Navy SEAL from 1999 to 2009. He is currently known as the most successful sniper in American military history, according to the Office of the Governor of the State of Texas.
Soon after his death Dyess was nominated for the Medal of Honor and was posthumously awarded the Soldier’s Medal. Abilene Air Force Base was renamed Dyess Air Force Base in his honor in December 1956. During his life her received the Distinguished Service Cross, the Legion of Merit, and the Silver Star. He received a hero’s welcome upon his return to the United States. he briefed teh War Department on Japanese warfare and confirmed the enemy’s burtality to POWs.
The stories of Kyle and Dyess transcend two different generations. They both showed the willingness to sacrifice their lives for the good of their country. While Dyess exhibited his extraordinary courage as part of “the greatest generation”, Kyle’s story shows that same sort of courage is still alive and well in today’s American society. Although the country may be undergoing major cultural changes in recent years, the sort of heroism these two legends exhibited is still alive and well.