The military blog This Ain’t Hell weighed in on the subject Friday. Army veteran Jonn Lilyea wrote that while he defends Kyle’s legacy in combat, the Navy SEAL has never been considered by the Navy for the nation’s top award recognizing combat valor. Williams introduced the legislation two days after Marine veteran Eddie Ray Routh was convicted of murdering Kyle and his friend, Chad Littlefield, on Feb. 2, 2013 at a gun range in Texas.
“There are hundreds of members of the military whose martial biographies are similar, but they don’t have a best selling book and a blockbuster movie, and I get the feeling that is the only reason that Williams is going through all of this because of Kyle’s name recognition,” Lilyea wrote. “The Routh trial and the success of the movie about Kyle are intersecting at the Medal of Honor.”
Lilyea said the legislation seems like a political stunt.
“There was no effort to get him the award while he was alive, before there was a book, before there was a movie,” he said. “I’m not saying that he doesn’t deserve the award, but I’m thinking that he would be the first to disabuse folks of the notion.”
That echoes some of what Checkpoint observed from veterans on social media after it covered the topic Thursday. Consider the following from a former Army Ranger:
And this from a Vietnam veteran:
And this from a recent Army veteran:
And this from a recent Marine Corps veteran:
Note: Peralta and Weinmaster are both Marines who earned the Navy Cross — second only to the Medal of Honor.
Williams spoke on the House floor today about his legislation:
As the video shows, the congressman challenges people to show that Kyle did not demonstrate the bravery that is “prerequisite for this honor.” However, it is not believed that the SEAL’s past commands ever nominated him for the award. Kyle did receive two Silver Stars, two notches below the Medal of Honor in recognizing heroism in combat, and five Bronze Stars with V device.
The congressman’s legislation would authorize the White House to award the Medal of Honor to Kyle, even though the statute of limitations for doing so has expired. Doing so also would require the military to approve the award, which it is typically fiercely protective of reserving for the most extreme cases of valor.
Asked about the perception that the legislation is a political stunt, a spokesman for Williams, Vince Zito, released a statement through email.
“Congressman Williams believes that in saving many American lives during his four tours of duty in Iraq, Chris Kyle has met the qualifications of valor and bravery to be awarded the Medal of Honor. His legislation does not explicitly single out a specific event because many were performed in a classified setting,” it said. “However, it is the congressman’s intention that these specific events will be reviewed in the consideration process. The Chris Kyle Medal of Honor Act waives time limitations and authorizes and requests the president to award Chris Kyle the Medal of Honor.”
“In a number of occasions, legislation has been offered to waive certain restrictions and to encourage the President to award the Medal of Honor to particular individuals,” said a Congressional Research Service report released in September. “Generally speaking, this type of legislation is rarely enacted.”