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Pat Tillman killed by friendly fire

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  • Pat Tillman killed by friendly fire

    Reports: Tillman killed by friendly fire


    May 29, 2004
    LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Pat Tillman was killed by friendly fire as he led his team of Army Rangers up a hill during a firefight in Afghanistan last month, newspapers in California and Arizona reported Saturday.

    The U.S. Army Special Operations Command was to release information later Saturday on the death of Tillman, who walked away from a $3.6 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals to join the Army after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

    The Arizona Republic and The Argus of Fremont (Calif.) both reported the Army would announce Tillman, 27, was killed by fire from his fellow soldiers.

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    ``It does seem pretty clear that he was killed by friendly fire,'' Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., a member of the House Armed Services Committee, told the Republic. Franks said his panel was alerted to the information by the Army's Legislative Liaison Office.

    The Argus cited a family friend and also government sources it did not name as confirming the friendly fire report. Tillman's family declined to comment.

    An Afghan military official told The Associated Press on Saturday that Tillman died because of a ``misunderstanding'' when two mixed groups of American and Afghan soldiers began firing wildly in the confusion following an explosion.

    The Afghan official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also contradicted U.S. reports that the American soldiers had come under enemy fire.

    The Army has said Tillman was leading his comrades against enemy shooters who had pinned down other soldiers when he was killed on April 22.

    Tillman, a member of the elite Ranger unit since 2002, was posthumously promoted from specialist to corporal. He also was awarded a Purple Heart and Silver Star.

    ``While many of us will be blessed to live a longer life, few of us will ever live a better one,'' said Sen. John McCain. R-Ariz., who spent 5 1/2 years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. ``He was a most honorable man.''

    When the Army announced he was being awarded the Silver Star, it said Tillman was killed after his platoon was split into two sections for what officials called a ground assault convoy. Tillman was in charge of the lead group.

    His group was safely out of the area when the trailing group came under mortar and small arms fire, according to the Army, and he ordered them to return.

    ``Through the firing, Tillman's voice was heard issuing fire commands to take the fight to the enemy on the dominating high ground,'' the award announcement said. ``Only after his team engaged the well-armed enemy did it appear their fires diminished.

    ``As a result of his leadership and his team's efforts, the platoon trail section was able to maneuver through the ambush to positions of safety without a single casualty,'' the announcement said.

    The Afghan official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the two groups of soldiers had drifted some distance apart during the operation in the remote Spera district of Khost province, close to the Pakistani border.

    ``Suddenly the sound of a mine explosion was heard somewhere between the two groups and the Americans in one group started firing,'' the official said, citing an account given to him by an Afghan fighter who was part of that group, not Tillman's.

    ``Nobody knew what it was -- a mine, a remote-controlled bomb -- or what was going on, or if enemy forces were firing. The situation was very confusing,'' the official said.

    ``As the result of this firing, that American was killed and three Afghan soldiers were injured. It was a misunderstanding and afterwards they realized that it was a mine that had exploded and there were no enemy forces.''

    U.S. military officials in Kabul had no immediate comment.




    Sad, very sad.

  • #2
    Re: Pat Tillman killed by friendly fire

    That's horrible.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Pat Tillman killed by friendly fire

      That's war.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Pat Tillman killed by friendly fire

        Good point. :disappoin

        Comment

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        • RamsFanSam
          Investigation reveals new Tillman questions
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          And it wasn't until 26 days after the memorial service -- more than a month after his death -- that the Army would publicly acknowledge what the Rangers who were with him in combat knew almost right away: Tillman died in "friendly fire." He was hit in the head by three bullets fired by U.S. soldiers who say they mistook him for the enemy.
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          Enlisting "is probably one of the best decisions I've made in my life," Staat, 29, told The Associated Press after his graduation ceremony.

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          "He told me, 'You're a good player, you need to get good play.' Then four months later, at his wedding, I learn he's going to the Army," Staat said. "I joked to him, 'You stole my idea,' and he said it had been in the process for a while."

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          "I should have been there for him," he said, adding he was disappointed that Tillman's enlistment drew wide attention because he gave up a $1.2 million NFL contract to join the Army Rangers.

          "People missed the whole concept. It wasn't about the money," he said. "He was there to help liberate a country.

          "I never felt right about making the money I was making," Staat continued. "We pay millions of dollars to professional athletes and entertainers, yet we pay military service people pennies to a dollar, and they're the ones risking their lives."

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