Then The American Football Star Pat Tillman Died In Friendly Fire In Afghanistan

>> Friday, October 8, 2010




When Pat Tillman and his brother Kevin at the U. S. Army in 2002, he was a source of pride and fear for his family. America was still reeling from the attacks against the World Trade Center. "We were at war," their father, Patrick Tillman Sr., said, and the idea that my children will allow someone else their battles to fight for them ... I do not think Saturday well with one of them. "


For U. S. Army, enlisting Pat Tillman was an opportunity of another kind. Tillman was a famous athlete, a professional footballer playing for the Arizona Cardinals, who refused for three years, $ 3,600,000 contract so he could serve his country. No writer in the Pentagon press office has a more convincing head. Donald Rumsfeld, the Defence Secretary of the United States, a personal note Tillman welcoming the "proud and patriotic" thing he did.

When Tillman died in Afghanistan in April 2004, three times in the head, the news was greeted with an outpouring of grief and patriotic pride. A press statement from the Pentagon described as "the ultimate sacrifice in the war against terrorism, a spokesman for the White House spoke of him as" an inspiration both on and off the field soccer, while Arizona Senator John McCain, the spoke of how Tillman's death was "a blow to the morale of our nation."

Tillman the Silver Star, the third highest military decoration in the U. S. Army, given for "gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States. The passage describes how he" put themselves in the line of devastating enemy fire "and how, when mortally wounded, his bold leadership and courageous example" inspired his men to fight, pushing the enemy, and that lead to secure passage of his platoon "in the ambush, killing one.

But Pat Tillman did not die as a result of enemy fire. The three bullets in his head fired by his own comrades.

The saga was told in a new documentary special, The Tillman story. The fruit of three years of work by the producer John Battsek and director Amir Bar-Lev, the film examines how the U.S. military tried to the fact that Tillman died in so-called "friendly fire" hiding in the words of an ex-soldier, "A recruit poster pin on his chest and his family's struggle to discover the truth.

At first glance, Pat Tillman looked every inch the hero's ultimate American. Square-jawed, ruggedly handsome and well built, it looked like a cross between an action movie star and distinctive fuel testosterone "Jock". But Tillman was a character far more complex than that.

A few weeks after his death, a memorial service held in his hometown of San Jose, California, a friend described him as a man on a constant quest to make himself better. "

The eldest of three counsel, Patrick Sr., and a teacher with special needs, Mary, Pat Tillman was an outstanding scholar and an outstanding athlete, graduating summa cum laude, the highest honor academic, his college in Arizona before being drafted in the NFL professional football in 1998 with the Arizona Cardinals.

Tillman, his father said, "pushed himself on almost every level." As a boy, he would have around a book of quotations - Churchill, Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln - and remember those circles he found most inspiring. As a professional footballer, he did not have a phone or a car, and that the training cycle in a T-shirt and flip flops, a paperback in his pocket. His reading of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry Thoreau to Noam Chomsky.

Immediately after 9 / 11, Tillman had an interview where he talks about freedom, patriotism and "the flag represents." Many of my family has gone ... and fight in wars, he said, "and I did not really done a damn thing as far as myself on the line like that."

Six months later, after the last game of the season and returned from a honeymoon in the South Pacific with his childhood sweetheart, Mary Tillman and his brother Kevin announced that they join the army.

Tillman was the first professional NFL since the Second World War the game voluntarily for military service leave, and his recruitment was a gift of public relations for the army. Rumsfeld, after sending his letter of congratulations Tillman on 28 June 2002, the Secretary of the Army Tom White, noting that Tillman "its [sic] as he is world class. We might want an eye to keep him." But Tillman refused the role of the lecturer to play he refused. To explain why he did, the reduction of all requests for media interviews and family asking them to comment on. It was only offered a "safe" place to the house, but it also down.

After basic training, Pat and Kevin assigned to U. S. Army Rangers, an elite corps of fighting with the rank of "Specialist" - between the private and corporal - and in March 2003, they were among U.S. forces deployed in the initial invasion of Iraq. Doubts were soon in 25 years, Pat was older than most of his squad, and according to his mother, he was frustrated by the lack of intellectual stimulation. "It disturbed him that the military uses to get people to their full potential and that things were done that had no meaning." He also started the legality of the proceedings and to question the war in Iraq.

Returning home after his first tour, Tillman told his mother that the war was "bullshit about". One of the things they discussed concerns that he was in psychological assessments for more go than other soldiers in his platoon. I said: "It may be because they are curious about you," Mary remembers. "Why would you give to so many to join the army?"

In the years after his death, the family finally managed to get two of these attacks under the Freedom of Information Act to get. "They said things like, fail to respect authority, all sorts of things ..." said Mary. "Pat did not idiots, for sure, but when he has the power of respect., He respected it."

That the army was concerned about views or Tillman felt he achieved his goal, he was an honorable discharge and offered a chance to take a football. He refused. "Pat has signed to fight for three years, he was going to fight for three years. This was the case," said his father - and early April 2004 Pat and Kevin were deployed with their "Black Sheep platoon in Afghanistan.

The squad April 22 Tillman was hired, "swap" scan towns Taliban fighters in southeast Afghanistan near the border with Pakistan, where one of the Humvees squad crashed. At the request of the platoon leader was Lt. David Uthlaut his command center 65 miles in the city of Khost vehicle transporting farm denied. it was recommended that this should be dragged to safety behind a civilian truck that was locally recruited and at the same time the team has the mission of boots on the ground "in the village of Manah have until the evening. The only way this goal is to divide the squad into two, "Series 1" to push Manah, while "Series 2" took responsibility for the broken Humvee.

1 serial port, including Uthlaut and Tillman went to Manah, passing along the road through a canyon, while two Serial U-turn on the road to Khost. They travel a short distance when it became clear that the civilian truck would be to proceed on a rocky terrain. Instead, they then set a route is created in the canyon.

It was at this point that the 2nd series was attacked by the soldiers thought rockets or mortars and small arms. They fight back, blitzing the high clay and machine guns. The sound of explosions and gunfire alerted a series on the other side of the canyon. Uthlaut tried unsuccessfully radio contact with the second series, while Tillman, another soldier, Bryan O'Neal, and an Afghan militiaman named Thani the hill for a position at the back overlooking the road.

The main vehicle of Serial 2 is in sight. View Afghan militia, the team leader, Sergeant Greg Baker, opened fire. Hit by eight bullets, Afghanistan killed. Following the example of Baker and others in the lead vehicle now starts to spray the Ridgeline with the fire of machine guns. Tillman was waving his arms frantically, yelling "Stop firing! Friendly" If O'Neal and scrambled to hide behind rocks. He then threw a smoke grenade as a sign that they are "friendly." There was a lull in the fire. When Tillman broke cover, the soldiers in the vehicle, Baker opened fire again. Machine gun fire hit the bulletproof vest on his chest and a squat. According to O'Neal, Tillman continued to scream, "I'm Pat Tillman! Cease fire!". But the continued firing he was hit three times in the head His last words were. "I'm Pat Tillman ---- ING.

The death of the soldier's most famous America at a particularly critical to the U. S. Army. In early April, U.S. forces in 2004 suffered a humiliating setback in the failed attempt to the Iraqi city of Fallujah to grab, and the 131 American victims of this month will be the highest in nine months. America is becoming disillusioned with the "war on terrorism."

The day Pat Tillman was killed, Donald Rumsfeld, speaking at the Newspaper Association of America, begging them not only write about "the attacks and setbacks" but "put in context" for the events Iraq and Afghanistan. What was needed, it seemed, was something positive. He was a hero.

On the evening of 22 April was Tillman's family informed of his death. "We said Pat a shot in the head of a vehicle," recalls his mother. "It was all we knew." April 30 - two days after the first photos of detainee abuse at the prison, Abu Ghraib has shown on American television, public confidence in the prosecution of the war, sinking to its lowest level - it was announced that Tillman the Silver Star, posthumously specialist to Corporal was awarded.

The military wanted to Tillman's funeral with military honors, but his wife, Mary, refused. Apparently aware of how the military could continue to use in the event of his death, Pat was written instructions that Mary "I do not want military engagement at her funeral. But Pat Tillman was to reveal a figure of death to be allowed to quietly pass.

On 3 May 3000 people had a memorial service in San Jose, nationally televised. Among the army officers who gathered around to comfort his family was Lt. Gen. Philip Kensinger, the head of the Army Special Operations Command, which oversees all special combat body. Only later would it come, that as he Tillman family was comforting, Kensinger was fully aware that their son had died from friendly fire.

Four months later, at the beginning of the new football season, the NFL would his own day of remembrance, With all the teams carry a memorial decal on their helmets in honor of Tillman. In Arizona, his number 40 shirt was "retired" at a ceremony at a Cardinals game. President Bush on a video screen tributes.

In Afghanistan, a series of very unusual measures put in train the day after Tillman's death. Other members of the platoon was commanded nothing of the incident, and telephone and Internet connections at the base to say was closed. His brother, Kevin, who did not witness the incident and knew only that the patent had been killed, but not what was in a "quarantine" and in the days that would send the body to house Pat, accompanied by another soldier who received strict instructions not to tell Kevin and family what happened.

In violation of military protocol, which stipulates that the uniforms of the fallen soldiers back to America, Pat was uniform, helmet and combat vest off, and his notebook. Within an hour, was army captain, Richard Scott, ordered a report on the incident to prepare. His research project, done in a few days, was convicted. Tillman's death, Scott concluded, was fratricide - the military term for "friendly fire" - and the result of an act of "gross negligence" by soldiers in two series. He recommended that the seat there should be further investigated by the command of the army criminal investigation to determine whether there was "criminal intent" in the murder

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