Tag Archives: Marine Corps

Kyle's killer gets life without parole

This is likely the least-surprising jury verdict to come down in most folks’ memory.

Eddie Ray Routh was found guilty of murdering Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield at a shooting range south of Fort Worth in 2013.

The case has drawn international attention, as Kyle’s exploits have been portrayed in the acclaimed film “American Sniper.” Kyle was the Navy SEAL sharpshooter who served four tours in Iraq and is credited with 160 confirmed kills, believed to be a U.S. military record.


Routh sought acquittal on the grounds of insanity. The jury, which deliberated in a Stephenville court building for two hours, didn’t buy it.

The verdict and the sentence bring to a close a most dramatic case.

Kyle’s devotion to doing his duty for his country has been honored across the nation. “American Sniper” tells a gripping story of a young man torn by the terrible deeds he did on the battlefield.

The terrible, tragic irony, of course, is that Kyle survived those four harrowing tours of the Iraq War, only to die at the hands of a former Marine who committed an act of brutality against Kyle and Littlefield. He shot them multiple times in the back.

Routh now will be put away for the rest of his life.

The families of Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield have been delivered the justice they deserve.


The tank is elsewhere

Social media can be quite a boon to finding answers to nagging questions in a hurry.

The other day I posed a question on Facebook about the whereabouts of a battle tank that once “guarded” one of the doors to the Potter County Courthouse in downtown Amarillo.

I got my answer … quickly. It’s been moved to Pampa, about 60 miles northeast in Gray County.

The tank is now sitting proudly with some other war relics.

I mistakenly referred to the tank as an M-48. It’s actually newer than that; it’s an M-60.

Potter County Judge Arthur Ware put the tank out there after then-Justice of the Peace Jim Tipton — a fellow Marine — procured the vehicle from someone, whose identity escapes me at the moment.

Ware, who is leaving office at the end of the year, told me several times over the years how proud he was to have the tank out there. He said it symbolized some memorial to veterans who had served their country. Ware, a Marine reservist, was called up during the Persian Gulf War in 1990-91 and went into battle with his fellow Marines against the allegedly vaunted Iraqi Republican Guard.

The tank stood there for many years. Then the county sought some historical preservation grant money to restore the courthouse. The rules from the Texas Historical Commission are quite restrictive, as they should be. The county sought to return the courthouse to its original pristine state, which in 1930 did not include the tank on the grounds.

The tank had to go. Period.

So the county found a suitable home for it.

I’m glad it hasn’t been scrapped. I also am glad the state historical preservationists stuck to their guns — so to speak — by ordering the county removed from the courthouse grounds.

The county did a good job of restoring the grand old building — while obeying the rules that took an old weapon of war to another location.

End of a life puts it all in perspective

We’ve all done it.

We awake from a fitful sleep. We’re out of sorts. We’re a bit crabby over this little thing or that. We struggle through our morning. Get ready for work. We arrive at our place of employment still a bit under the emotional weather.

We start working at our job. Then a jolt of reality strikes you right in the gut, as it happened to me this afternoon. A colleague asked me, “Did you hear the news?” I responded, “About what, or whom?”

Then it came. A young service technician at the Amarillo auto dealership where I work was on his lunch break. He had been riding his motorcycle en route back to work — or so I understand. He was hit by a motorist, apparently very hard.

This young man died today. He was 18 years of age. Eighteen.

I was shaken in a way I wouldn’t have expected.

I didn’t know the young man all that well. We spoke often as our paths crossed at work. He once had intended to enlist in the Marine Corps. In fact, my very first conversation was an ice-breaker as I introduced myself to him. He told me of his plans to become a Marine.

This young man was quite fit. He told me when we met he enjoyed “working out and being a bad ass.” I chuckled and told the young man, “Let me give you just this bit of advice: Lose the ‘bad ass’ attitude. The Marines have a way of dealing with that and you won’t like the way they disabuse you of that notion.”

We both laughed and went about the rest of our work that day.

His sudden death today served to remind me — it should remind everyone — about how precious life is and how quickly it can be snatched away.

My young colleague had his whole life ahead of him — or so he thought when he fired up his motorcycle today.

Tonight the young’s man life on Earth has ended.

And that niggling stuff that had me so out of sorts this morning? It doesn’t mean a damn thing.

Female Marines fail physical. Now what?

I was afraid this could happen.

The Marine Corps joined the other military branches in requiring women to compete with men in physical fitness tests to determine their ability to perform the sometimes-arduous tasks the military requires of them.

Then half of the women Marines failed the exam.


The failure rate has prompted the Marine Corps to delay its fitness plan to determine what its next step should be.

What we have here is a serious conundrum for the Marine Corps, not to mention all the services that include women in their ranks.

Count me as someone who has been skeptical of the decision to allow women into the combat arms, which is what is happening. The combat arms are the infantry, artillery and armor branches of the military, primarily in the Army and the Marine Corps.

I have no doubt that some women can perform as well as their male colleagues. I’ve known many women over the years with whom I would not want to encounter in a fistfight.

But … the issue here is whether all the females who serve in the combat arms are able to carry their share of the load in combat situations. I mean “carry their share” quite literally.

The Marine Corps has said it wouldn’t reduce its physical requirements for women who have enlisted for duty. They would be required to do all the tasks required of men. However, half of them have been unable to make the grade.

What now?

Am I wrong to have these doubts?