What I Learned From American Sniper

The American Sniper
Image from the web.

My second attempt to watch the American Sniper was a success.  Last weekend it did not happen as we got stopped right at the ticket booth. By ‘we’ I mean that I was with my son who felt equally disappointed when he learned that he is not allowed yet to watch the R13 rated movie. He’s got seven more years before he gets past the cinema’s turnstile. Yesterday, I was with wifey, just the two of us.

The movie served more of a visual treat of what transpired in the American Sniper book that I finished reading just recently. Having read the additional entry on the ebook regarding the making of the movie, also prepared me to expect that some parts of the story where tweaked and that other events did not make it to its film version. I would have appreciate, however, if the movie included the part where the enemy made use of beach balloons to cross the marsh and how Chris Kyle ended the terrorists’ creative strategy. Several other accounts written by Chris Kyle himself would have made the movie a lot more entertaining.

Yet American Sniper isn’t just about entertainment. Given the gruesome nature of this Clint Eastwood movie as adapted from the true story of how one man was able to achieve 160 official kills in his four tours in Iraq, there are looming ethical questions that surround it. For one, does it justify to shoot anyone who appears to satisfy a sniper’s rules of engagement? It’s a tough question that only snipers themselves will be able to answer with a straight face. But believe it or not, anyone one could learn beyond just shooting the bad guys. One does not need to be enlisted in the Armed Forces to appreciate the lessons that the American Sniper imparts. (Cited below are excerpts from the ebook).

“Comms and navigation are a lot further down the list for most SEALs. The worst school you can send someone to has to do with intel. People hate that. They joined the SEALs to kick down doors, not to gather intelligence. But everyone has a role.” (p. 327)

  1. Everyone has a role and someone’s got to do the dirty job. Sometimes we begin to be de-motivated having to continue doing our present role. We also hate being re-assigned—changes that will get us out of our comfort zones. In any case, resentment usually sets in and we question our role in an organization. By looking at the bigger picture, we should be able to identify where we stand and realize our contribution.

“I SAID IT BEFORE AND I’LL KEEP SAYING IT: I’M NOT THE BEST shot in the world. There were plenty of guys better than me, even in that class. I only graduated about middle of the pack…You need skill to be a sniper, but you also need opportunity. And luck. (P. 108)

  1. It is a fact, the real world is a different story. There are so many factors that would change what we learned in school. To excel in academics is one thing, to find that opportunity and luck to be able excel in real life is another. Acquire the skills so that when opportunity presents itself, you are fit and ready.

“WE HAD A LONG BREAK FROM WAR, BUT WE WERE BUSY THE whole time, retraining and, in some cases, learning new skills.” (p. 206)

  1. Regular training is the key to avoid stagnancy. Employees who belong to an organization who keeps on training everyone to hone their skills are the lucky ones (cross-training is also a known method to motivate employees). Doing something over and over again until the correct routine becomes second nature will ensure that job expectations are effectively and efficiently delivered and as a result customer satisfaction is achieved.

“Getting through BUD/ S and being a SEAL is more about mental toughness than anything else. Being stubborn and refusing to give in is the key to success. Somehow I’d stumbled onto the winning formula.” (p. 29)

  1. Failures will happen and we will be tested based on our attitude towards. Anyone with the tenacity to face trials head on will always come out as the clear winner.

“I wanted to do my thing, which was being a sniper…I wanted to be the best at what I wanted to do. I think a lot of people had trouble with that attitude. They naturally thought that anyone who was good should have a very high rank.” (p. 354)

5. Love your job and rewards will eventually come along the way. Enjoying the job is very important. If it is fun, it is worth doing. This is where I would use “note to self.”

These are just a few of the lessons from American Sniper. Read the book and learn that heroes behind the crosshair are also humans. Plain humans just like us who at the end of the day continue to ask themselves, “Was it all worth it?”

***

In memory of our own fallen heroes. The SAF 44.

***

The pizzas are the bad guys, oatmeal grains are the SEALs. There’s now CQB somewhere inside me. (After the movie, wifey and I finally indulged ourselves with S&R’s pizza. I was stuffed.)

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (The goal is to eat more oatmeal this week.)

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Author: crisn

I'm Cris Nacionales from the Philippines.

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