Pat Tillman - Choosing to stay in the war and his legacy
This week brought two interesting news stories concerning Pat Tillman, the former NFL player who enlisted the Army and was killed in action. They both bring a couple of surprising bits of information to light.
First, word came that the army wouldn't release a second investigation into the death of Pat Tillman. It was believed that Pat Tillman was killed by fratricide, which is a term to describe killing a brother or sister. The army uses this when talking about friendly fire.
Due to the Tillman family not being satisfied with the original investigation, the army opened a new investigation into the Pat Tillman death in November of 2004. The report supposedly has the same findings as the first report. Col. Joe Curtin of the army said:
There was no change to the original findings. The matter's closed. It has concluded it was a fratricide. There is absolutely nothing to hide
Second, Pat Tillman's agent reported that there were a number of NFL teams that stepped up to offer Pat Tillman contracts for the 2004 season. His agent, Frank Bauer, said:
At the time, there were some clubs calling me. They all wanted Pat. And they all said the same thing: 'Frank, this kid can get out of it. He's already served in a war. Just file his discharge papers.'
Pat's response was true to form:
Frank, I know it's flattering and all, but the bottom line is I made this commitment. I'm going to give it one more tour, then I'm going to get ready and train (for the NFL).
The Seahawks were very interested in his services as were the Arizona Cardinals. Both teams had formal offers ready to go and the teams ever arranged for intermediaries to talk with Pat Tillman.
The fact that Pat Tillman was willing to honor his commitment to the army and his country serves as a great example of dedication and patriotism. It's sad that his death was due to friendly fire.
Pat's good spirit and commitment continue after his death. The recent opening of the Pat Tillman USO Center opened in Afghanistan, This center is located on Bagram Air Base and serves thousands of military.
The Pat Tillman Foundation focuses on Leadership Through Action, the kind of style Pat practiced. They held and event in Arizona called Pat's Run to raise money. 5,200 people crossed the finish line, the 42 yard line of Sun Devil Stadium to raise over $100,000.