Former Texas Governor Rick Perry took to his keyboard to defend the honor of the late “American Sniper,” Navy Seal Chris Kyle. The former governor responded to what he called a “stunning display of inadequate research” in an article that challenged Kyle’s medal claims.
Perry began his Op-Ed on Fox News’ opinion pages on Memorial Day stating there is a “gap of understanding between the protected and their protectors.” He discussed a “gutter” where “liars and character assassins slither.”
“The most recent snake to peek its head up from the muck is a writing team for a leftwing publication whose only knowledge of the military was likely acquired while Googling derogatory slogans to scrawl on protest signs,” Perry wrote about what he called a “click-hungry website.”
The governor was referring to a May 25 article by Matthew Cole and Sheelagh McNeill on The Intercept blog site.
The site claims the American Sniper war hero exaggerated his medals claim in his book which later became a record-breaking movie. At issue was Kyle’s statement, “I would end my career as a SEAL with two Silver Stars and five Bronze [Stars], all for valor.”
They claim their research come up with a different number of medals. The writers cite an unnamed Naval officer as a person who allegedly warned Kyle before his book was published that he was in error.
At issue is Kyle’s claim of two Silver Star awards. The writers also cite a January 25 response from the Department of the Navy to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from McNeill. The letter references a list of the “releasable copy of the available award citations.”
Perry disputes the article and states the FOIA letter is not the definitive document of a military service member’s record of service. “As any veteran will tell you, a DD-214 is THE definitive record of a person’s time in the military, used to prove the authenticity, duration and character of said service,” Perry wrote. “The official name for the form is Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty and veterans learn early on to keep a copy handy. In separation briefings, service members are carefully coached to review it thoroughly because, once it’s filed, it’s filed.”
Perry says that Kyle’s DD-214 states Kyle was awarded “TWO Silver Stars and SIX Bronze Stars,” Perry stated with emphasis on the numbers. “If there is any inaccuracy in Kyle’s account it’s that he didn’t take ENOUGH credit for his awards.” Kyle only claimed five Bronze Stars in this book.
It should be noted that the letter from the Department of the Navy said they were attaching the “releasable copy of the available award citations.” It is possible there are other citations which are not releasable for reasons of national security.
Perry said that Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell, known from the movie “Lone Survivor” has experienced similar attacks of “unscrupulous reporting,” Perry stated. Luttrell and Perry are close personal friends.
Perry suggests the attacks on our military heroes is perhaps “a byproduct of nearly eight years of an arch-liberal in the Oval Office combined with an American population increasingly disconnected from the men and women who serve in the military.”
Texas longest serving governor asked people to join him in “calling for the retraction and deletion of the offending article and reprimand of the Navy personnel who have fed this misperception with their lackadaisical handling of the original information request.”
The former governor said his request might sound odd coming from a person who has been committed to the “constitutional freedoms our military fights to defend.”
“Freedom of speech and deliberate libel are two entirely different things,” the governor explained. “To honor the memory of an American hero, the latter cannot be tolerated.”