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Pat Tillman

Pat Tillman

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Corporal Patrick Daniel "Pat" Tillman Jr. (November 6, 1976 – April 22, 2004) was an American football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

 player who left his professional career and enlisted in the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 in June 2002 in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attacks. He joined the Army Rangers
United States Army Rangers
United States Army Rangers are elite members of the United States Army. Rangers have served in recognized U.S. Army Ranger units or have graduated from the U.S. Army's Ranger School...

 and served several tours in combat before he died in the mountains of Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

. The Army at first reported that Tillman had been killed by enemy fire, and Lieutenant General Stanley A. McChrystal
Stanley A. McChrystal
Stanley Allen McChrystal is a retired four-star general in the United States Army. His last assignment was as Commander, International Security Assistance Force and Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan...

 approved the award of a Silver Star
Silver Star
The Silver Star is the third-highest combat military decoration that can be awarded to a member of any branch of the United States armed forces for valor in the face of the enemy....

. The actual cause of Tillman's death was later ruled by the Pentagon as friendly fire
Friendly fire
Friendly fire is inadvertent firing towards one's own or otherwise friendly forces while attempting to engage enemy forces, particularly where this results in injury or death. A death resulting from a negligent discharge is not considered friendly fire...

.

Early life


Tillman was born on November 6, 1976, in Fremont, California. The oldest of three sons, Tillman excelled at football in high school. He helped lead Leland High School to the Central Coast Division I Football Championship. Tillman then went to Arizona State University
Arizona State University
Arizona State University is a public research university located in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area of the State of Arizona...

 on a football scholarship.

Family and Friends


Tillman was very close to his family and high school friends. He repeatedly mentioned in his personal journals during wartime service that he drew strength from and deeply valued his closest friendships, parents, wife and family. Tillman was very committed to his high-school sweetheart whom he married just prior to enlistment in the Army Rangers, Marie Ugenti Tillman. He also was very close with his brother, Kevin Tillman, who enlisted with and served alongside Pat.

Football career


He started his college career as a linebacker
Linebacker
A linebacker is a position in American football that was invented by football coach Fielding H. Yost of the University of Michigan. Linebackers are members of the defensive team, and line up approximately three to five yards behind the line of scrimmage, behind the defensive linemen...

 for Arizona State University
Arizona State University
Arizona State University is a public research university located in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area of the State of Arizona...

 in 1994, when he secured the last remaining scholarship for the team. Tillman excelled as a linebacker at Arizona State, despite being relatively small for the position at five-feet eleven-inches (1.80 m) tall. As a senior, he was voted the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year. Academically, Tillman majored in marketing
Marketing
Marketing is the process used to determine what products or services may be of interest to customers, and the strategy to use in sales, communications and business development. It generates the strategy that underlies sales techniques, business communication, and business developments...

 and graduated in three and a half years with a 3.84 GPA. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame
College Football Hall of Fame
The College Football Hall of Fame is a hall of fame and museum devoted to college football. Located in South Bend, Indiana, it is connected to a convention center and situated in the city's renovated downtown district, two miles south of the University of Notre Dame campus. It is slated to move...

 in 2010.
In the 1998 National Football League Draft, Tillman was selected as the 226th pick by the Arizona Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals are a professional American football team based in Glendale, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix. They are currently members of the Western Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League...

. Tillman moved over to play the safety
Defensive back
In American football and Canadian football, defensive backs are the players on the defensive team who take positions somewhat back from the line of scrimmage; they are distinguished from the defensive line players and linebackers, who take positions directly behind or close to the line of...

 position in the NFL and started ten of sixteen games in his rookie
Rookie
Rookie is a term for a person who is in his or her first year of play of their sport or has little or no professional experience. The term also has the more general meaning of anyone new to a profession, training or activity Rookie is a term for a person who is in his or her first year of play of...

 season.

At one point in his NFL career, Tillman turned down a five-year, $9 million contract offer from the St. Louis Rams
St. Louis Rams
The St. Louis Rams are a professional American football team based in St. Louis, Missouri. They are currently members of the West Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League . The Rams have won three NFL Championships .The Rams began playing in 1936 in Cleveland,...

 out of loyalty to the Cardinals.

Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated is an American sports media company owned by media conglomerate Time Warner. Its self titled magazine has over 3.5 million subscribers and is read by 23 million adults each week, including over 18 million men. It was the first magazine with circulation over one million to win the...

football writer Paul Zimmerman
Paul Zimmerman
Paul Lionel Zimmerman is the son of Charles S. Zimmerman and Rose Zimmerman. Zimmerman, also known to readers as "Dr. Z", is an American football sportswriter who wrote for the weekly magazine Sports Illustrated, as well as the magazine's website, SI.com. He is sometimes confused with Paul D...

 (Dr. Z) named Tillman to his 2000 NFL All-Pro team after Tillman finished with 155 tackles (120 solo), 1.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 9 pass deflections and 1 interception for 30 yards.

Tillman finished his career with totals of 238 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 3 interceptions for 37 yards, 3 forced fumbles, 2 pass deflections, and 3 fumble recoveries in 60 career games. In addition he also had 1 rush attempt for 4 yards and returned 3 kickoffs for 33 yards.

In May 2002, eight months after the September 11 attacks and after completing the fifteen remaining games of the 2001
2001 NFL season
The 2001 NFL season was the 82nd regular season of the National Football League.Following a pattern set in 1999, the first week of the season was permanently moved to the weekend following Labor Day...

 season which followed the attacks (at a salary of $
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

512,000 per year), Tillman turned down a contract offer of $3.6 million over three years from the Cardinals to enlist in the U.S. Army.

Military career and death


Tillman and his brother Kevin
Kevin Tillman
Kevin Tillman is a former Minor League Baseball second baseman who left the Cleveland Indians after September 11, 2001 to enlist in the United States Army. With his brother, former National Football League star Pat Tillman, he completed Ranger School in 2002, and they were both assigned to 2nd...

 enlisted on 31 May 2002. Kevin gave up the chance of a career in professional baseball as he had already signed to play for the Cleveland Indians
Cleveland Indians
The Cleveland Indians are a professional baseball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. They are in the Central Division of Major League Baseball's American League. Since , they have played in Progressive Field. The team's spring training facility is in Goodyear, Arizona...

. In September 2002, they completed basic training together. The two brothers completed the Ranger Indoctrination Program
Ranger Indoctrination Program
Ranger Assessment and Selection Program is an 8 week course held at Fort Benning, Georgia. RASP is required for all ranks. As of 2010, RASP replaced both the RIP for enlisted Soldiers and ROP for Officers, both commissioned and non-commissioned. and below to be assigned to the U.S...

 in late 2002 and were assigned to the 2nd Ranger Battalion
2nd Ranger Battalion
2nd Ranger Battalion is the name of two distinct units of United States Army Rangers. The first was part of the six Ranger battalions of the Second World War...

 in Fort Lewis, Washington. Tillman resided in University Place
University Place, Washington
University Place is a city in Pierce County, Washington, United States. Its population was 31,144 at the 2010 census.Based on per capita income, University Place ranks 81st of 522 areas in the state of Washington to be ranked.-History:...

 with his wife before being deployed to Iraq. After participating in the initial invasion
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

 of Operation Iraqi Freedom, in September 2003, he entered Ranger School
Ranger School
The United States Army Ranger School is an intense 61-day combat leadership course oriented towards small-unit tactics. It has been called the "toughest combat course in the world" and "is the most physically and mentally demanding leadership school the Army has to offer". The course is conducted...

 at Fort Benning
Fort Benning
Fort Benning is a United States Army post located southeast of the city of Columbus in Muscogee and Chattahoochee counties in Georgia and Russell County, Alabama...

, Georgia, and graduated on November 28, 2003.

Tillman was subsequently redeployed to Afghanistan. On April 22, 2004, he was killed by friendly fire. An Afghan Militia Forces Allied soldier was also killed in the action. Tillman’s Platoon Leader First Lieutenant David Uthlaut and his RadioTelephone Operator, then 19-year old Jade Lane, were wounded in the incident. The specific details of his death and its aftermath were investigated by the US Congress.

The Army initially claimed that Tillman and his unit were attacked in an apparent ambush on a road outside of the village of Sperah about 25 miles (40 km) southwest of Khost
Khost
Khost or Khowst is a city in eastern Afghanistan. It is the capital of Khost province, which is a mountainous region near Afghanistan's border with Pakistan...

, near the Pakistan border. An Afghan militia soldier was killed, and two other Rangers were injured as well.

The Army Special Operations Command
United States Army Special Operations Command
The United States Army Special Operations Command is the command charged with overseeing the various Special Operations Forces...

 initially claimed that there was an exchange with hostile forces. After a lengthy investigation conducted by Brigadier General
Brigadier general (United States)
A brigadier general in the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, is a one-star general officer, with the pay grade of O-7. Brigadier general ranks above a colonel and below major general. Brigadier general is equivalent to the rank of rear admiral in the other uniformed...

 Gary M. Jones, the U.S. Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

 concluded that both the Afghan militia soldier's and Pat Tillman's deaths were due to friendly fire aggravated by the intensity of the firefight.

An investigation by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command concluded that Tillman and the Afghan militia soldier were killed by friendly fire when one allied group fired upon another in confusion after nearby gunfire was mistakenly believed to be from enemy combatants. The CID Report summary, dated 19 March 2007, stated that: "during their movement through the canyon road, Serial 2 [Tillman's platoon had to split up because of a broken Humvee, the parts were called Serial 1 and 2] was ambushed and became engaged in a running gun battle with enemy combatants. Serial 1 [Tillman's portion of the platoon] had just passed through the same canyon without incident and were approximately one kilometer ahead of Serial 2. Upon hearing explosions, gunfire, and sporadic radio communication from Serial 2, Serial 1 dismounted their vehicles and moved on foot, to a more advantageous position to provide overwatch and fire support for Serial 2's movement out of the ambush." Upon exiting the gorge, and despite attempts by Serial 1 to signal a "friendly position," occupants of the lead vehicle of Serial 2 opened fire on Tillman's position, where he was fatally shot.

Awards and decorations

Silver Star
Silver Star
The Silver Star is the third-highest combat military decoration that can be awarded to a member of any branch of the United States armed forces for valor in the face of the enemy....

Purple Heart
Purple Heart
The Purple Heart is a United States military decoration awarded in the name of the President to those who have been wounded or killed while serving on or after April 5, 1917 with the U.S. military. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is located in New Windsor, New York...

Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal (United States)
The Meritorious Service Medal is a military decoration presented to members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguished themselves by outstanding meritorious achievement or service to the United States subsequent to January 16, 1969...

Army Achievement Medal
National Defense Service Medal
National Defense Service Medal
The National Defense Service Medal is a military service medal of the United States military originally commissioned by President Dwight D. Eisenhower...

Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
The Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal is a United States armed forces military award created by George W. Bush on March 12, 2003 by Executive Order 13289. It recognizes those military service members who have deployed overseas in direct service to the War on Terror from September 11,...

Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
The Global War on Terrorism Service Medal is a military award of the United States military which was created by Executive Order 13289 of President George W. Bush on March 12, 2003...

Army Service Ribbon
Army Service Ribbon
The Army Service Ribbon is a military decoration of the United States Army that was established by the Secretary of the Army on 10 April 1981 as announced in Department of the Army General Order 15, dated 10 October 1990....

Presidential Unit Citation
Joint Meritorious Unit Award
Joint Meritorious Unit Award
The Joint Meritorious Unit Award is a military award that was established on June 4, 1981 by Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and was implemented by Department of Defense Directive 1348.27 dated July 22, 1982...

Army Superior Unit Award
Superior Unit Award
The Superior Unit Award is a decoration of the United States Army which is awarded in peacetime to any unit of the Army which displays outstanding meritorious performance of a difficult and challenging mission carried out under extraordinary circumstances....


Cover-up surrounding Tillman's death



A report described in The Washington Post
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

on May 4, 2005, prepared at the request of Tillman's family by Brigadier General Gary M. Jones revealed that in the days immediately following Tillman's death, Army investigators were aware that Tillman had been killed by friendly fire, shot three times in the head. Jones reported that senior Army commanders, including General John Abizaid
John Abizaid
John Philip Abizaid, AO is a retired General in the United States Army and former Commander of the United States Central Command , overseeing American military operations in a 27-country region, from the Horn of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, to South and Central Asia, covering much of the Middle...

, knew of this fact within days of the shooting but nevertheless approved the awarding of the Silver Star
Silver Star
The Silver Star is the third-highest combat military decoration that can be awarded to a member of any branch of the United States armed forces for valor in the face of the enemy....

, Purple Heart
Purple Heart
The Purple Heart is a United States military decoration awarded in the name of the President to those who have been wounded or killed while serving on or after April 5, 1917 with the U.S. military. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is located in New Windsor, New York...

, and a posthumous promotion to the rank of Corporal.

Lieutenant General Stanley McChrystal approved the Silver Star citation on April 28, 2004, which gave a detailed account of Tillman's death including the phrase "in the line of devastating enemy fire," but the next day he sent a P4 confidential memo warning senior government members that Tillman might actually have been killed by friendly fire. Top commanders within the US Central Command, including former Commander of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) General John Abizaid, should have been notified by the P4 memo, which described Tillman's "highly possible" fratricide
Friendly fire
Friendly fire is inadvertent firing towards one's own or otherwise friendly forces while attempting to engage enemy forces, particularly where this results in injury or death. A death resulting from a negligent discharge is not considered friendly fire...

, four days before Tillman's nationally televised memorial service during which he was lauded as a war hero for dying while engaging the enemy.

Jones reported that members of Tillman's unit burned his body armor and uniform in an apparent attempt to hide the fact that he was killed by friendly fire. His notebook, in which – according to author Jon Krakauer
Jon Krakauer
Jon Krakauer is an American writer and mountaineer, primarily known for his writing about the outdoors and mountain-climbing...

 – Tillman had recorded some of his thoughts on Afghanistan, was also burned; "a blatant violation of protocol". Several soldiers were subsequently punished for their actions by being removed from the United States Army Rangers
United States Army Rangers
United States Army Rangers are elite members of the United States Army. Rangers have served in recognized U.S. Army Ranger units or have graduated from the U.S. Army's Ranger School...

. Jones believed that Tillman should retain his medals and promotion, since, according to Jones, he intended to engage the enemy and behaved heroically.

Tillman's family was not informed of the finding that he was killed by friendly fire until weeks after his memorial service, although at least some senior Army officers knew of that fact prior to the service. According to Krakauer
Jon Krakauer
Jon Krakauer is an American writer and mountaineer, primarily known for his writing about the outdoors and mountain-climbing...

 in his book Where Men Win Glory
Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman
Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman, a 2009 book written by Jon Krakauer, is a biography of Pat Tillman, an American football player who left his professional career and enlisted in the United States Army after the September 11 attacks...

, the extensive cover-up that followed his death included the military's order to Tillman's comrades to lie to his family at the funeral. Tillman's parents have sharply criticized the Army's handling of the incident; Tillman's father charges that the Army "purposely interfered in the investigation" because of the effect it could have on their recruiting efforts, while Tillman's mother charges that "this lie was to cover their image."
He also blamed high-ranking Army officers for presenting "outright lies" to the family and to the public.

On March 4, 2006, the US Defense Department Inspector General directed the Army to open a criminal investigation of Tillman's death. The Army's Criminal Investigative Division will determine if Tillman's death was the result of negligent homicide.

On March 26, 2007, the Pentagon released their report on the events surrounding Tillman's death and coverup. The report reads in part:
On April 24, 2007, Iraq veteran Jessica Lynch
Jessica Lynch
Jessica Dawn Lynch is a former Private First Class in the United States Army Quartermaster Corps. Lynch served in Iraq during the 2003 invasion by U.S. and allied forces. On March 23, 2003 she was injured and captured by Iraqi forces but was recovered on April 1 by U.S...

, who had been captured by the Iraqis after a fire fight, gave testimony before the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that the Pentagon had erroneously portrayed her as a "Rambo
John Rambo
John Rambo is an iconic fictional character and the basis of the Rambo saga. He first appeared in the 1972 novel First Blood by David Morrell, but later became more famous in the film series, played by Sylvester Stallone...

 from the hills of West Virginia," when in fact, she never fired a shot after her truck was ambushed. Tillman's brother Kevin Tillman
Kevin Tillman
Kevin Tillman is a former Minor League Baseball second baseman who left the Cleveland Indians after September 11, 2001 to enlist in the United States Army. With his brother, former National Football League star Pat Tillman, he completed Ranger School in 2002, and they were both assigned to 2nd...

 testified at the same hearing that: "The deception surrounding this [Tillman] case was an insult to the family: but more importantly, its primary purpose was to deceive a whole nation. We say these things with disappointment and sadness for our country. Once again, we have been used as props in a Pentagon public relations exercise."

After Kevin's testimony Pete Geren
Pete Geren
Preston M. "Pete" Geren, III served as the 20th United States Secretary of the Army from July 16, 2007 to September 16, 2009...

, acting secretary of the Army stated to reporters, "We as an Army failed in our duty to the Tillman family, the duty we owe to all the families of our fallen soldiers: Give them the truth, the best we know it, as fast as we can."

Tillman's diary was never returned to his family, and its whereabouts are not publicly known.

One investigation of the autopsy report and photographs by two forensic pathologists in November 2006, concluded that Tillman was most likely killed as a result of fire from a M249 light machine gun
M249 light machine gun
The M249 light machine gun , previously designated the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon , and formally written as Light Machine Gun, 5.56 mm, M249, is an American version of the Belgian FN Minimi, a light machine gun manufactured by the Belgian company FN Herstal . The M249 is manufactured in the...

. The M249 uses the same ammunition
5.56x45mm NATO
5.56×45mm NATO is a rifle cartridge developed in the United States and originally chambered in the M16 rifle. Under STANAG 4172, it is a standard cartridge for NATO forces as well as many non-NATO countries. It is derived from, but not identical to, the .223 Remington cartridge...

 as the M16 rifle and M4 carbine but is capable of greater accuracy during higher rates of fire. This would allow a competent user to place three bullets within a several-inch target from forty or fifty yards away more easily, even from a moving vehicle.

On July 26, 2007, Chris Matthews
Chris Matthews
Christopher John "Chris" Matthews is an American news anchor and political commentator, known for his nightly hour-long talk show, Hardball with Chris Matthews, which is televised on the American cable television channel MSNBC...

 reported on Hardball
Hardball with Chris Matthews
Hardball with Chris Matthews is a talk show on MSNBC, broadcast weekdays at 5 and 7 PM hosted by Chris Matthews. It originally aired on now-defunct America's Talking and later CNBC. The current title was derived from a book Matthews wrote in 1988, Hardball: How Politics Is Played Told by One Who...

that Tillman's death may have been a case of deliberate murder by Tillman's fellow soldiers – specifically that the bullet holes were tight and neat, suggesting a shot at close range. Matthews based his speculation on a report from the doctors who examined Tillman's body. The following day the Associated Press reported that a doctor who examined Tillman's body after his death wrote, "The medical evidence did not match up with the scenario as described," also noting that the wound entrances appeared as though he had been shot with an M16 rifle
M16 rifle
The M16 is the United States military designation for the AR-15 rifle adapted for both semi-automatic and full-automatic fire. Colt purchased the rights to the AR-15 from ArmaLite, and currently uses that designation only for semi-automatic versions of the rifle. The M16 fires the 5.56×45mm NATO...

 from fewer than 10 yards (9.1 m) away. A possible motive was not identified. When officers and soldiers were asked during a criminal investigation, they said they were certain the shooting was accidental. According to one of his fellow soldiers, Tillman "was popular among his fellow soldiers and had no enemies."

In addition, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Associated Press, the Defense Department released 2,300 pages of documents which were reported to indicate:
  • There has never been evidence of enemy fire found on the scene, and no members of Tillman's group had been hit by enemy fire.
  • The three-star general, who withheld details of Tillman's death from his parents for a number of months, told investigators approximately 70 times that he had a bad memory and couldn't recall details of his actions.
  • Army attorneys sent each other congratulatory e-mails for keeping criminal investigators at bay as the Army conducted an internal friendly-fire investigation that resulted in administrative, or non-criminal, punishments.
  • Army doctors told the investigators that Tillman's wounds suggested murder because "the medical evidence did not match-up with the scenario as described."
  • There were special forces snipers in the group immediately behind Tillman's platoon.


Despite his fame, Tillman did not want to be used for propaganda purposes. He spoke to friends about his opposition to President Bush and the Iraq war, and he had made an appointment with notable government critic Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky
Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, and activist. He is an Institute Professor and Professor in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT, where he has worked for over 50 years. Chomsky has been described as the "father of modern linguistics" and...

 after his return from the military. The destruction of evidence linked to Tillman's death, including his personal journal, led his mother to speculate that he was murdered. General Wesley Clark agreed that it was "very possible".

Congressional inquiries


On April 24, 2007, Specialist Bryan O'Neal, the last soldier to see Pat Tillman alive, testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that he was warned by superiors not to divulge information that a fellow soldier killed Tillman, especially to the Tillman family. Later, Pat Tillman's brother Kevin Tillman, who was also in the convoy traveling behind his brother at the time of the 2004 incident in Afghanistan but did not witness it, testified that the military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 tried to spin his brother's death to deflect attention from emerging failings in the Afghan war.

On August 13, 2007, Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated is an American sports media company owned by media conglomerate Time Warner. Its self titled magazine has over 3.5 million subscribers and is read by 23 million adults each week, including over 18 million men. It was the first magazine with circulation over one million to win the...

reported that twenty U.S. military veterans who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan asked the NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell
Roger Goodell
Roger S. Goodell is the Commissioner of the National Football League , having been chosen to succeed the retiring Paul Tagliabue on August 8, 2006. He was chosen over four finalists for the position, winning a close vote on the fifth ballot before being unanimously approved by acclamation of the...

, to help secure the release of all documents relating to the death of Pat Tillman.

On July 14, 2008, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform released a proposed report titled "Misleading Information from the Battlefield: The Tillman and Lynch Episodes". The committee stated that its "investigation was frustrated by a near universal lack of recall" among "senior officials at the White House" and the military. It concluded:
The pervasive lack of recollection and absence of specific information makes it impossible for the Committee to assign responsibility for the misinformation in Corporal Tillman’s and Private Lynch
Jessica Lynch
Jessica Dawn Lynch is a former Private First Class in the United States Army Quartermaster Corps. Lynch served in Iraq during the 2003 invasion by U.S. and allied forces. On March 23, 2003 she was injured and captured by Iraqi forces but was recovered on April 1 by U.S...

’s cases. It is clear, however, that the Defense Department did not meet its most basic obligations in sharing accurate information with the families and with the American public.

Memorials and tributes



After his death, the Pat Tillman Foundation was established to carry forward its view of Tillman's legacy by inspiring and supporting those striving for positive change in themselves and the world.

A highway bypass around the Hoover Dam
Hoover Dam
Hoover Dam, once known as Boulder Dam, is a concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, on the border between the US states of Arizona and Nevada. It was constructed between 1931 and 1936 during the Great Depression and was dedicated on September 30, 1935, by President...

 has a bridge bearing Tillman's name. Completed in October 2010, the Mike O'Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge spans the Colorado River between Nevada and Arizona.

Lincoln Law School of San Jose
Lincoln Law School of San Jose
Lincoln Law School of San Jose is a private, non-profit law school in San Jose, California. It is an independent institution, formerly a part of Lincoln University.-History:The school traces its roots to 1919 when Dr...

 has established the Pat Tillman Scholarship in honor of Tillman. Tillman's father, Patrick Kevin Tillman, earned his Juris Doctor from Lincoln in 1983.

On Sunday, September 19, 2004, all teams of the NFL wore a memorial decal on their helmets in honor of Pat Tillman. The Arizona Cardinals continued to wear this decal throughout the 2004 season. Former Cardinals quarterback Jake Plummer
Jake Plummer
Jason Steven "Jake" Plummer is a former American football quarterback in the National Football League. He was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the second round of the 1997 NFL Draft. He played college football at Arizona State....

 requested to also wear the decal for the entire season but the NFL turned him down saying his helmet would not be uniform with the rest of the Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos are a professional American football team based in Denver, Colorado. They are currently members of the West Division of the American Football Conference in the National Football League...

. Plummer later grew a full beard and his hair long in honor of Tillman, who had such a style in the NFL before cutting his hair and shaving his beard off to fit military uniform guidelines. Plummer, now retired from the NFL, has since gone back to cutting his hair short but maintains the beard.
The Cardinals retired his number 40
40 (number)
40 is the natural number following 39 and preceding 41.Despite being related to the word "four" , 40 is spelled "forty", and not "fourty"...

, and Arizona State did the same for the number 42
42 (number)
42 is the natural number immediately following 41 and directly preceding 43. The number has received considerable attention in popular culture as a result of its central appearance in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as the "Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and...

 he wore with the Sun Devils. The Cardinals have named the plaza surrounding their University of Phoenix Stadium
University of Phoenix Stadium
University of Phoenix Stadium, opened August 1, 2006, is a multipurpose football stadium located in Glendale, Arizona. It is the home of the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League and the annual Fiesta Bowl...

 in Glendale
Glendale, Arizona
Glendale is a city in Maricopa County, Arizona, USA, located about nine miles northwest from Downtown Phoenix. According to 2010 Census Bureau, the population of the city is 226,721....

 Pat Tillman Freedom Plaza. Later, on November 12, 2006, during a Cardinals game versus the Cowboys, a bronze statue was revealed in his honor. ASU also named the entryway to Sun Devil Stadium
Sun Devil Stadium
Sun Devil Stadium is an outdoor football stadium, located on the campus of Arizona State University, in Tempe, Arizona, United States. The stadium's current seating capacity is 71,706 and the playing surface is natural grass...

 the "Pat Tillman Memorial Tunnel" and made a "PT-42" patch that they place on the neck of their uniforms a permanent feature.

Pat Tillman's high school, Leland High School in San Jose, renamed its football field after him.

In 2004, the NFL donated $250,000 to the United Service Organizations
United Service Organizations
The United Service Organizations Inc. is a private, nonprofit organization that provides morale and recreational services to members of the U.S. military, with programs in 160 centers worldwide. Since 1941, it has worked in partnership with the Department of Defense , and has provided support and...

 to build a USO center in memory of Tillman. The Pat Tillman USO Center, the first USO center in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, opened on Bagram Air Base
Bagram Air Base
Bagram Airfield, also referred to as Bagram Air Base, is a militarized airport and housing complex that is located next to the ancient city of Bagram, southeast of Charikar in Parwan province of Afghanistan. The base is run by a US Army division headed by a major general. A large part of the base,...

 on April 1, 2005.

Forward Operating Base
Forward Operating Base
A forward operating base is any secured forward military position, commonly a military base, that is used to support tactical operations. A FOB may or may not contain an airfield, hospital, or other facilities. The base may be used for an extended period of time. FOBs are traditionally supported...

 Tillman is close to the Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 border, near the village of Lwara in Paktia Province
Paktia Province
Paktia , is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan, in the east of the country. Its capital is Gardez. The population is predominantly Pashtun.- History:...

, Afghanistan.

On Saturday, April 15, 2006, more than 10,000 participants turned out for 1st Annual Pat's Run (the annual, central fundraising event for the Pat Tillman Foundation) in Tempe, Arizona
Tempe, Arizona
Tempe is a city in Maricopa County, Arizona, USA, with the Census Bureau reporting a 2010 population of 161,719. The city is named after the Vale of Tempe in Greece. Tempe is located in the East Valley section of metropolitan Phoenix; it is bordered by Phoenix and Guadalupe on the west, Scottsdale...

. The racers traveled along the 4.2 miles (6.8 km) course around Tempe Town Lake to the finish line, on the 42-yard line of Sun Devil Stadium
Sun Devil Stadium
Sun Devil Stadium is an outdoor football stadium, located on the campus of Arizona State University, in Tempe, Arizona, United States. The stadium's current seating capacity is 71,706 and the playing surface is natural grass...

 in order to commemorate the number which he wore as a Sun Devil and which was later retired in his honor. A second "shadow" race took place in San Jose, CA, around the country at the same time as Pat's Run. Sponsored by the Pat Tillman Foundation, a total of 14,000 runners took part. In 2005, about 6,000 took part in a single race in Tempe. Since then, Pat's Run has continued to grow every year, with more than 28,000 attendees in April 2010. Various "shadow races", in locations such as Austin, TX, take place around the country at the same time as Pat's Run.

Just south of San Jose, CA, in the small community of New Almaden
New Almaden
The New Almaden quicksilver mine in the Santa Teresa Hills in Santa Clara County, California, United States, is the oldest and most productive quicksilver mine in the U.S. The site was known to the Ohlone Indians for its cinnabar long before a Mexican settler discovered the ores in 1820...

 where Pat Tillman grew up, a memorial was constructed near the Almaden Quicksilver County Park
Almaden Quicksilver County Park
Almaden Quicksilver County Park is a 4,147 acres park that includes the grounds of former mercury mines adjacent to south San Jose, California, USA...

. This memorial was dedicated in September 2007 during the annual New Almaden Day celebration.

The skateboarding bulldog
Bulldog
Bulldog is the name for a breed of dog commonly referred to as the English Bulldog. Other Bulldog breeds include the American Bulldog, Olde English Bulldogge and the French Bulldog. The Bulldog is a muscular heavy dog with a wrinkled face and a distinctive pushed-in nose...

 featured on YouTube
YouTube
YouTube is a video-sharing website, created by three former PayPal employees in February 2005, on which users can upload, view and share videos....

 and in an Apple iPhone
IPhone
The iPhone is a line of Internet and multimedia-enabled smartphones marketed by Apple Inc. The first iPhone was unveiled by Steve Jobs, then CEO of Apple, on January 9, 2007, and released on June 29, 2007...

 commercial was named after Tillman.

Two books about Tillman were published in 2009. Jon Krakauer
Jon Krakauer
Jon Krakauer is an American writer and mountaineer, primarily known for his writing about the outdoors and mountain-climbing...

, author of Into Thin Air
Into Thin Air
Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster is a 1997 bestselling non-fiction book written by Jon Krakauer. It details the author's presence at Mount Everest during the 1996 Mount Everest disaster when eight climbers were killed and several others were stranded by a 'rogue storm'...

and Into the Wild, chronicles Tillman's story in Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman, published by Doubleday on September 15. Meanwhile, Tillman's mother, Mary Tillman, also wrote a book about her son, Boots on the Ground by Dusk, which was released in April 2008.

Following Tillman's death, the Ohio State Linebackers Corp consisting of A.J. Hawk, Bobby Carpenter
Bobby Carpenter (American football)
Robert J. Carpenter III is an American football linebacker for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft after playing college football at Ohio State.Carpenter has also played for the St...

 and Anthony Schlegel
Anthony Schlegel
Anthony Schlegel is a former American Football linebacker. He was originally drafted by the New York Jets in the third round of the 2006 NFL Draft. He played college football at the Ohio State University after transferring from the United States Air Force Academy...

, as well as center Nick Mangold
Nick Mangold
-New York Jets:Replacing Kevin Mawae at center, Mangold had a good rookie season, allowing only 0.5 sacks, committed only 3 penalties and made all the line calls. Mangold was considered to be the best prospect at center in the last 15 years according to NFL draft expert Mike Mayock...

 grew their hair in tribute to Tillman, imitating Tillman's trademark locks.

In September 2008, Rory Fanning, a fellow Army Ranger who was stationed with Tillman in Fort Lewis, Washington, began his "Walk for Pat" — a walk across the United States in an effort to raise money and awareness for the Pat Tillman Foundation. The stated fundraising goal is $3.6 million — the value of the contract Tillman turned down when he decided to enlist in the military.

The Pacific-10 Conference renamed its annual defensive player of the year award in football to the Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year.

Controversial criticisms


After reports of Tillman's anti-war views became public, Ted Rall
Ted Rall
Ted Rall is an American columnist, syndicated editorial cartoonist, and author. His political cartoons often appear in a multi-panel comic-strip format and frequently blend comic-strip and editorial-cartoon conventions. The cartoons appear in approximately 100 newspapers around the United States...

 who had previously written a comic calling Tillman a "fool" and "idiot," said that he was wrong to have assumed Tillman to be a "right wing poster child" when Tillman regarded the invasion of Iraq as illegal.

Then-Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Kauzlarich, Regimental Executive Officer at Forward Operating Base Salerno on Khost, Afghanistan, under which Tillman was serving at the time of his death, and who led the second investigation into Tillman's death, made statements about the Tillman family’s search for the truth based on Tillman's atheism. In comments to ESPN
ESPN
Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, commonly known as ESPN, is an American global cable television network focusing on sports-related programming including live and pre-taped event telecasts, sports talk shows, and other original programming....

, Kauzlarich said: "These people have a hard time letting it go. It may be because of their religious beliefs" and "When you die, I mean, there is supposedly a better life, right? Well, if you are an atheist and you don’t believe in anything, if you die, what is there to go to? Nothing. You are worm dirt. So for their son to die for nothing and now he is no more... I do not know how an atheist thinks, I can only imagine that would be pretty tough."

Kauzlarich conducted the second investigation into Tillman's death which lasted a week, from May 8 to May 15, 2004. Brigadier General Rodney Johnson, the Commanding General of the United States Army Criminal Investigations Command, testified before Congress that he found these statements "totally unacceptable." Acting Department of Defense Inspector General Thomas Gimble also testified that he was "shocked" that Lieutenant Colonel Kauzlarich would make these statements. According to AP analysis, there are three lower level officers expected to be punished, and Kauzlarich may be one of the three. Tillman's mother continues to reject the Pentagon's characterization of the officers' offenses as "errors" in reporting Tillman's death, because several officers have said they made conscious decisions not to tell the Tillman family that friendly fire was suspected.

Media analyses


A review by New York Times reporter Dexter Filkins
Dexter Filkins
Dexter Price Filkins is an American journalist known primarily for his coverage of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for The New York Times. He was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for his dispatches from Afghanistan, and he won a Pulitzer Prize in 2009 as part of a team of New York Times...

 of Jon Krakauer
Jon Krakauer
Jon Krakauer is an American writer and mountaineer, primarily known for his writing about the outdoors and mountain-climbing...

's book Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman
Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman
Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman, a 2009 book written by Jon Krakauer, is a biography of Pat Tillman, an American football player who left his professional career and enlisted in the United States Army after the September 11 attacks...

noted that the book did well to compile the facts and "nauseating" details regarding the cover-up of Tillman's death. "After Tillman’s death, Army commanders violated many of their own rules, not to mention elementary standards of decency, to turn the killing into a propaganda coup for the American side," Filkins wrote.

A documentary film
Documentary film
Documentary films constitute a broad category of nonfictional motion pictures intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction or maintaining a historical record...

 The Tillman Story
The Tillman Story
The Tillman Story is a 2010 documentary film directed by Amir Bar-Lev. The film is about the 2004 death of U.S. Army Ranger Pat Tillman in the war in Afghanistan, the cover-up of the true circumstances of his death, and his family's struggle to unearth the truth. It was nominated for the Grand...

was shown at the Sundance Film Festival
Sundance Film Festival
The Sundance Film Festival is a film festival that takes place annually in Utah, in the United States. It is the largest independent cinema festival in the United States. Held in January in Park City, Salt Lake City, and Ogden, as well as at the Sundance Resort, the festival is a showcase for new...

 on January 23, 2010, and was released in August 2010.

On October 19, 2006, Tillman's brother Kevin broke his silence about his brother's death, lashing out at the Iraq War in a 660-word essay published on Truthdig
Truthdig
Truthdig is a Web magazine that provides a mix of long-form articles, interviews, and blog-like commentary on current events, delivered from a progressive point of view. The site is built around major "digs" led by authorities in their fields who write multifaceted pieces about contemporary, often...

, a progressive online journal of news and opinion. The essay was widely distributed and was cited in The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

and Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

.

Religious and political beliefs


Krakauer described Tillman as "agnostic, perhaps an atheist", while later news reports state he was an atheist. According to speakers at his funeral, he was very well-read, having read a number of religious texts including the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

, Qur’an and Book of Mormon
Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon is a sacred text of the Latter Day Saint movement that adherents believe contains writings of ancient prophets who lived on the American continent from approximately 2600 BC to AD 421. It was first published in March 1830 by Joseph Smith, Jr...

 as well as transcendentalist
Transcendentalism
Transcendentalism is a philosophical movement that developed in the 1830s and 1840s in the New England region of the United States as a protest against the general state of culture and society, and in particular, the state of intellectualism at Harvard University and the doctrine of the Unitarian...

 authors such as Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century...

 and Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, and leading transcendentalist...

. However, responding to religious overtones at the funeral by Maria Shriver
Maria Shriver
Maria Owings Shriver is an American journalist and author of six best-selling books. She has received a Peabody Award, and was co-anchor for NBC's Emmy-winning coverage of the 1988 Summer Olympics. As executive producer of The Alzheimer's Project, Shriver earned two Emmy Awards and an Academy of...

 and John McCain
John McCain
John Sidney McCain III is the senior United States Senator from Arizona. He was the Republican nominee for president in the 2008 United States election....

, his youngest brother, Richard, asserted that "He's not with God, he's fucking dead. He's not religious." Richard added, "Thanks for your thoughts, but he's fucking dead." Another article quotes Tillman as having told then-general manager of the Seattle Seahawks
Seattle Seahawks
The Seattle Seahawks are a professional American football team based in Seattle, Washington. They are currently members of the Western Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League . The team joined the NFL in 1976 as an expansion team...

 Bob Ferguson in December 2003, "You know I'm not religious."

The September 25, 2005, edition of the San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
thumb|right|upright|The Chronicle Building following the [[1906 San Francisco earthquake|1906 earthquake]] and fireThe San Francisco Chronicle is a newspaper serving primarily the San Francisco Bay Area of the U.S. state of California, but distributed throughout Northern and Central California,...

newspaper reported that Tillman held views which were critical of the Iraq war. According to Tillman's mother, a friend of Tillman had arranged a meeting with author Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky
Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, and activist. He is an Institute Professor and Professor in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT, where he has worked for over 50 years. Chomsky has been described as the "father of modern linguistics" and...

, a prominent critic of American foreign and military policy, to take place after his return from Afghanistan. Chomsky has confirmed this.

See also


  • Don Holleder
    Don Holleder
    Donald Walter Holleder was an American college football star and a hero of the Vietnam War.-Early life and football career:...

     – College football player, and soldier killed in action during the Vietnam War
    Vietnam War
    The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

  • Tim James – Former NBA player who left his professional sports career and enlisted in the United States Army on September 12, 2008
  • Bob Kalsu
    Bob Kalsu
    James Robert "Bob" Kalsu was an All-American tackle at the University of Oklahoma and an eighth-round draft pick by the Buffalo Bills of the American Football League in 1968....

     – Former AFL player killed in action during the Vietnam War
    Vietnam War
    The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

  • Don Steinbrunner
    Don Steinbrunner
    Donald Thomas Steinbrunner was an American football offensive tackle who was one of only two American National Football League players to die in the Vietnam War....

     – Retired NFL player killed in action during the Vietnam War
    Vietnam War
    The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

  • News propaganda
    News propaganda
    News propaganda is a type of propaganda covertly packaged as credible news, but without sufficient transparency concerning the news item's source and the motivation behind its release...

  • Propaganda in the United States
    Propaganda in the United States
    Propaganda in the United States comes from governments and private entities of various kinds. Propaganda is information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to influence opinions and encite action...


External links