Pat Tillman death occured on April 22nd, 2004. He was a former NFL star who, following the September 11th terrorist attacks, chose to enlist in the U.S. Army.
Tragically he was killed while on patrol in Afghanistan. Initially, the U.S. military attempted to hide that Tillman was mistakenly killed by his fellow soldiers and not by hostile forces.
Tillman’s family was deeply hurt when the truth came to light and felt that the military had misled them by portraying their son as a hero who died fighting the enemy.
The Tillmans publicly spoke out against the Army, alleging that military officials covered up the truth about their son’s death for fear that it would undermine public support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Following this revelation, a criminal investigation was launched, and in 2007, retired General Philip Kensinger was censured for lying to investigators and for other mistakes related to Tillman’s death.
In Tillman’s case, the Army also issued “memorandums of concern” to multiple generals and lower-ranking officers suspected of breaking the law.
Life overview of Pat Tillman
Pat Tillman was a rising star in the NFL, playing as a top defensive back for the Arizona Cardinals between 1998 and 2001.
Despite recording impressive stats, including 115 tackles, two forced fumbles, and an interception in 2000, he turned down a multi-million dollar contract offer from the Cardinals following the September 11th terrorist attacks.
He enlisted in the Army with his brother Kevin, a minor league baseball player, to serve his country. The Tillman brothers served in the 75th Ranger Regiment in Fort Lewis, Washington, and completed a mission in Iraq before being deployed to Afghanistan in April of 2004.
On April 22nd, 2004, Pat Tillman was tragically killed in the line of duty. Initially, the Army claimed that enemy combatants killed him in an ambush, but it was later revealed that he was actually killed by friendly fire.
Despite his untimely death, Pat Tillman was awarded the Silver Star Purple Heart Medals and was recognized as a national hero. He was remembered as a voracious reader with an insatiable thirst for knowledge.
Tillman charged up a hill in Khost Province to protect his fellow soldiers, shouting, “I’m Pat f— Tillman!” as bullets flew in his direction. Sadly, he was shot three times by a member of his unit instead of the enemy.
The Army’s attempt to conceal the circumstances surrounding Tillman’s death was met with public condemnation by his family, who felt that the military had misled them to portray their son as a patriotic hero.