Legislative Medal of Honor awarded to Chris Kyle and William Dyess

Submitted photo.
Michele and State Rep. John Wray with Taya Kyle.

AUSTIN — In a ceremony held at the Governor's Mansion last week, Chief Petty Officer Chris Kyle and Lieutenant Colonel William Dyess were posthumously awarded the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration given by the State of Texas.

This commendation is given to two recipients every legislative session: One for service during the period beginning after 1835 but before 1956 and one for service after 1955. Kyle and Dyess, who were selected for their "conspicuous acts of gallantry," join only ten other service members in holding this high honor.

Lt. Col. William "Ed" Dyess, who would have been 99 years old this month, was recognized for his service during WWII and his heroic feats in the Pacific as a pilot, infantryman, Marine and Prisoner of War. Dyess led the earliest air offense against the Japanese and first amphibious landing after the attack on Pearl Harbor, survived the horrific Baatan Death Camps, orchestrated the only successful large-scale Allied POW escape of the Pacific War, and provided the first eye witness account of the Japanese atrocities to the world. After recovering from his time as a POW and returning to service, his life was tragically cut short at the age of 27 when his plane crashed during a flight training exercise in California. For his remarkable valor, Dyess received the Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross and the US Air Force Base in Abilene was renamed William Dyess Air Force Base in his honor.

Chief Petty Officer Chris Kyle, the most successful sniper in American history, was also awarded the prestigious Texas Legislative Medal of Honor on Wednesday for his venerated service. Nicknamed “The Legend” by his fellow soldiers and “The Devil of Ramadi” by enemy insurgents, Kyle served four tours of duty in Iraq, fought in every major battle of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and recorded a record-setting 150 confirmed kills. Kyle saved numerous lives during his time as a Navy SEAL, while miraculously surviving two gunshot wounds and six separate IED explosions himself. He was awarded two Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars, one Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, and numerous other unit and personal awards. Nearly four years after his departure from the Navy and his return home to Texas, Kyle was tragically murdered. Kyle's dedication to his country, his family and his fellow soldiers lives on through his legacy and his charity, Chris Kyle Frog Foundation.

"I was privileged to nominate Chris Kyle for the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor, who was a longtime resident of Midlothian and a true American hero. He is so deserving of this recognition and Texas is humbled that his wife, Taya, was present to accept it on his behalf, for the entire Kyle family have given so much to protect our freedoms. Although no medal can possibly match the level of sacrifice these two men gave for our country, it is an absolute honor to be a part of recognizing their courage, bravery and selflessness," Representative John Wray said.

Wray was joined by fellow Ellis County elected officials, County Judge Carol Bush, County Commissioners Paul Perry and Kyle Butler, Midlothian Mayor Bill Houston and County Republican Party Chair Denise DeLara to honor Kyle's service and memory.