Military documents show conflicting information about the number of medals earned by slain Navy Seal Chris Kyle.
However, a retired Marine major general who served over Kyle tells FOX 4 it’s most likely a bureaucratic error, not an attempt to lie.
Navy documents first obtained by The Intercept and later received by FOX4 from the Navy show Kyle received one Silver Star and three Bronze Stars with valor. But another document, Kyle’s discharge paperwork, shows Kyle received two Silver Stars and at least five Bronze Stars with valor.
Kyle wrote in his best-selling book American Sniper, “I would end my career as a SEAL with two Silver Stars and five Bronze [Stars], all for valor.”
Retired Marine Major General James Williams was a combat commander in the Middle East. He thinks the discrepancies are an administrative error.
"Unless somebody proves something different, I would think so because I've seen too many of those over the years that I've served in the Marine Corps,” he said.
This isn't the first time something in Kyle's book has been challenged.
His widow, Taya, showed up to court when former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura sued his estate for defamation over a part of the book where Kyle describes punching Ventura over derogatory comments about Navy Seals. Ventura, a Seal himself, won the lawsuit.
But Williams doesn't think Kyle lied in this instance. He works to correct military awards records. Right now, he's fighting to get records updated for veterans who served in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. In the past decade, he's seen 30 cases that required correction.
"In war, there's always a lot of chaos,” explained Williams. “Let's say a person who recommended somebody for an award could have been injured or killed and that person obviously can't speak for themselves."
Williams says that's exactly how it happens: officers can recommend service members for awards, but sometimes, those recommendations don't end up in the official record. Kyle's military medals can be verified.
"In Chris's case, he can't defend himself because he's dead,” said Williams. “Now, however, this would fall to either his comrades or to his family to make sure that record's corrected."
A Navy spokesperson said they are investigating the discrepancy.
Taya didn't immediately return a phone call Wednesday when contacted by the Associated Press.
Kyle, regarded as the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history, was killed in 2013 at a Texas shooting range. A former Marine was convicted in his death.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.