No one knows the real story of Pat Tillman. On April 23, 2004 news headlines filled the air waves with tragic news that Pat Tillman was killed in action yesterday, fighting in Afghanistan. While on a patrol with his detachment through eastern Afghanistan, the detachment was ambushed. When the ambush was quelled, sadly, Pat Tillman was dead.
For the better part of the week following his death, his story was still being constantly reported about on every news channel including ESPN. The NFL dedicated the remainder of the year in Pat Tillman's name. Jake Plummer quarterback for the Denver Bronco's and close friend to Pat Tillman was fined for violating the NFL's uniform code when he displayed Pat Tillman's old football number on a decal in the back of his helmet. For the American public, the common perception of Pat Tillman was that he was a symbol of a true American hero who gave up a lucrative life in the NFL, to fight and die for his country. I myself remember hearing of Pat Tillman's death and told my dad that Pat Tillman is the definition of a true sports hero but more importantly an American hero. As time passed, Tillman's story disappeared from main stream news. However, weeks later the story did re-emerge when the Pentagon released a 2,000 page report regarding Pat Tillman. In the article Family Demands the Truth New Inquiry may Expose Events that led to Pat Tillman's Death, Robert Collier (staff writer for the San Frisco Chronicle) summarizes the 2,000 page report. As a result of September 11, Pat and his brother Kevin both joined the Army Rangers in June of 2002. After their training they were sent to Iraq and in 2004, was fighting in Afghanistan. On April 22, Tillman was with his detachment in search of al Qaeda in the village of Manah when one of the humvees stalled and shut down. The detachment then split up into two groups one moving forward and the other waiting to transport with the humvee. Tillman being apart of the first group began moving onward, due to the deep canyons radio and visual contact was temporarily gone. The second group began moving with the humvee on a flat bed truck. 15-20 minutes after the group split up the second group was brought under attack by al Qaeda insurgents. "Pat Tillman, according to testimony, climbed a hill with another soldier and an Afghan militiaman, intending to attack the enemy. He offered to remove his 28-pound body armor so he could move more quickly, but was ordered not to. Meanwhile, the lead vehicle in the platoon's second group arrived near Tillman's position about 65 meters away and mistook the group as enemy. The Afghan stood and fired above the second group at the suspected enemy on the opposite ridge. Although the driver of the second group's lead vehicle, according to his testimony, recognized Tillman's group of "friendlies" and tried to signal others in his vehicle not to shoot, they directed fire toward the Afghan and began shooting wildly, without first identifying their target, and also shot at a village on the ridgeline. The Afghan was killed. According to testimony, Tillman, who along with others on the hill waved his arms and yelled "cease fire," set off a smoke grenade to identify his group as fellow soldiers. There was a momentary lull in the firing, and he and the soldier next to him, thinking themselves safe, relaxed, stood up and started talking. But the shooting resumed. Tillman was hit in the wrist with shrapnel and in his body armor with numerous bullets. The soldier next to him testified: "I could hear the pain in his voice as he called out, Cease fire, friendlies, I am Pat fing Tillman, dammit." He said this over and over until he stopped," having been hit by three bullets in the forehead, killing him. The soldier continued, "I then looked over at my side to see a river of blood coming down from where he was
I saw his head was gone." Two other Rangers elsewhere on the mountainside were injured by shrapnel,"...
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