Every so often in life, you’re asked about current events and where you stand. After careful consideration and giving an answer, you discover that you’re not the only one who shares a similar opinion. Today, I was asked by a friend what I thought about the idea of Chris Kyle being awarded the Medal of Honor. I had no idea this was even a consideration.
As a veteran, the Medal of Honor is the highest award a service member can receive. It is awarded for actions well beyond the call of duty that demonstrates exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of mortal danger. It is meant to be given for specific acts of valor in a time of war. The requirements for such an award require careful evaluation and investigation. It is extremely difficult to get the award, and that is by design, reserved only for recognition of the bravest of actions.
Upon being asked the question, and giving it some thought, I came to the conclusion that based on the award itself and what it represents, the answer is no. It’s not that I don’t think Chris Kyle was not a hero or deserving of decoration for his service. There are heroes of all kinds as a result of their overall service. Kyle falls into this category and would be more deserving of a Navy Cross or some other service medal.
Medals for Valor require that acts of bravery in a battle are performed above and beyond the call of duty. Whether one could say that Chris Kyle’s efforts of sitting on rooftops and taking out enemy soldiers while minimally exposed is deserving or not, depends entirely on your point of view and understanding of all the missions he participated.
Kyle, as a Navy Seal, most likely performed very dangerous missions as a result of his unit assignment. Whether he did anything that rises to the Medal of Honor level would be difficult, due to the fact that many of his missions had been classified. Revealing acts of heroism while on a classified mission is a delicate situation; citations would have to be sanitized in such a way to provide the specific act in the award as required, without giving away any secrets.
So here I was, about to conclude this post, I happened to see a tweet from the Washington Post:
While I applaud the efforts of the Congressman Williams to do this, I am in agreement with other veterans. Unless he performed a specific act that meets the requirements for the award, it would be the first time the medal was awarded over a period of service. That’s not to say it couldn’t happen, but this legislation doesn’t do that for the award; it stretches the service to fit within the requirements for just a single service member. I think the award’s intended purpose is clear and, rightfully, should remain that way.
Chris Kyle’s legacy has been secured and no one can question his honor and bravery over the length of his service to his country. We all owe him a great debt for his service, and the best way to bestow honor to him is to tell his story over and over to inspire young people who wish to serve.