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Sunday, January 29, 2012
FP: The Pentagon credits you with 160 kills as a sniper, which is more than any other American service member, past or present. In American Sniper, you write that the overall number is not important to you. But are there any kills that stand out in your mind as especially significant or memorable?
CK: Probably the most memorable was in Ramadi. My SEAL platoon was providing cover for Marines as they searched abandoned houses for insurgents. That's when they came under attack. Soon they were engaged in a draining firefight. I was in a building about 200 yards away, trying to catch out the bad guys whenever they came into view. At one point in the battle, the Marines moved out to clear some houses. It was then that I saw an insurgent armed with a rocket-propelled grenade emerge and head toward them. I'm not sure if the RPG would have gone off, but if it had, the Marines would have been in trouble. They couldn't see him coming. I took my shot, right over the head of the Marines, and took him down. With all the shooting going on, the Marines didn't know what was happening. One of the Marines got on the radio and asked why the hell I was shooting at them. I got on the radio and responded, "I'm not shooting at you dumbass, I'm shooting over your head! Look down the street!" Afterwards, the Marines were asking who had been shooting over them. I spoke up and said it was me. Then one of the Marines took his gloves off. He was the one who I'd called a dumbass on the radio. I figured I was in trouble at that point. Instead he said, "I want to shake your hand. You saved my ass out there!" I don't think I've ever seen a more grateful Marine.