One of the deadliest Navy SEALs in US history may have exaggerated the number of medals he received in military service when he wrote a bestselling book, official documents suggest.

Chris Kyle’s memoirs, American Sniper, claim he earned two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars following four tours of duty in Iraq – but it has emerged this is it at odds with his personnel file.

Navy papers indicate he was actually awarded one Silver Star and three Bronze Stars with valour.

Kyle was fatally shot on a Texas shooting range in 2013 – a year before his book became a hit Clint Eastwood movie starring Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller.

The documents which suggest Kyle distorted his decorations were originally obtained by The Intercept, and its contents have since been confirmed by Lt Jackie Pau, a navy spokeswoman.

Eddie Ray Routh walks into court for a pretrial motion hearing in Stephenville

 

Although his discharge paperwork does state he received two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars, Lt Pau said: “The navy considers the individual service member’s official military personnel file and our central official awards records to be the authoritative sources for verifying entitlement to decorations and awards.”

She explained that his discharge papers, also known as a DD214 form, should match official records, “but inevitably some errors may occur”.

The Silver Star is the third-highest military combat decoration, while the Bronze Star is given to servicemen and women for heroic achievements in combat zones.

This is not the first time claims published in Kyle’s book have been scrutinised.

Bradley Cooper
In 2014 the former governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura, was awarded a total of $1.8m (£1.2m) for defamation and unjust enrichment over a passage Mr Ventura claimed was a complete fabrication – ruining his reputation in some military circles.

Kyle had written about punching Ventura after he made offensive remarks about Navy SEALs, but the politician testified that the comments and subsequent altercation had never happened.

That verdict is currently being appealed.

Chris Kyle’s widow, Taya, is yet to comment about the latest allegation.