Texas Gov. Greg Abbott posthumously awarded the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor to Chief Petty Officer Chris Kyle and Lieutenant Colonel Ed Dyess Wednesday.
The Texas Legislative Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of the state or federal military forces by the State of Texas.
"America is the brightest beacon of freedom the world has ever known because of all who have honorably worn the uniform of the mightiest military in the history of the world," Abbott said in a news release. "For their remarkable valor and selfless service, it is my distinct honor to present the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor to Lt. Col. Ed Dyess and Chief Petty Officer Chris Kyle. We can never repay the debt we owe for the lives these men saved and the freedom they preserved, but today we honor their memory, their patriotism and their sacrifice."
Kyle's widow, Taya Kyle, accepted the medal on her husband's behalf. Kyle, the subject of the 2014 movie "American Sniper," was shot and killed along with friend Chad Littlefield at an Erath County gun range in 2013.
Below is more from the Office of the Governor on the recipients:
Christopher Scott Kyle was born and raised in Texas and was a US Navy SEAL from 1999 to 2009. He is currently known as the most successful sniper in American military history. According to his book American Sniper, he had 160 confirmed kills (which was from 255 claimed kills). Kyle served as a Navy SEAL in 4 tours in the latest Iraq war. For his bravery and military skills, he was awarded some of the highest medals in the US military multiple times including the Bronze and Silver Star. In 2009, Kyle decided to leave the SEALS and was honorably discharged. After some time struggling with civilian life, he started a security company called CRAFT and wrote the New York Times bestselling book, American Sniper. Kyle was murdered at a shooting range by a US military veteran he was trying to help on February 2, 2013 in Texas.
William Edwin Dyess, World War II flier, was born August 9, 1916, in Albany, TX. After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and began assaults on Bataan and Corregidor, Dyess was thrust into combat in the Asian Theater as commander of all flying squadrons on Bataan. On March 3, 1942, in Subic Bay he sank a Japanese ship and damaged shore installations. As the enemy closed in, Dyess refused evacuation and remained with his men in the Philippines. On April 9, 1942, the American forces surrendered to the Japanese, and Dyess became a prisoner of war. He survived the horror of the Bataan Death March and imprisonment at camps O'Donnell and Cabanatuan and the Davao Penal Colony. At Davao, Dyess and several other prisoners escaped on April 4, 1943. They contacted Filipino guerrillas that led them to the submarine Trout on July 23. After returning home and staying in an army general hospital in Virginia to regain his health, Dyess was promoted to lieutenant colonel and resumed flying on December 22, 1943. He was killed that day in Burbank, CA, attempting an emergency landing and was buried in Albany.