Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Patrick D Tillman

Chandler, Arizona

April 22, 2004

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
27 Army Spc

2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment

Fort Lewis, Washington

Killed in Afghanistan by friendly fire.



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PRESS STATEMENT: USASOC announces Tillman investigation results

U.S. Army Special Operations Command Public Affairs Office

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service, May 29, 2004) — The U.S. Army Special Operations Command announced information about the death of Cpl. Patrick D. Tillman during a press statement here May 29.

Lt. Gen. Philip R. Kensinger Jr., USASOC’s commanding general, addressed the media at Stryker Golf Course at 9 a.m. The statement concerned a completed military investigation into the circumstances of Tillman’s April 22 death in Afghanistan and is presented below in transcript format. 


KENSINGER: Good morning. I would like to make a brief statement on the events surrounding the death of Corporal Pat Tillman April 22 in Afghanistan. I will not be taking questions.

A military investigation by U.S. Central Command into the circumstances of the 22 April death of Corporal Patrick Tillman is complete.

While there was no one specific finding of fault, the investigation results indicate that Corporal Tillman probably died as a result of friendly fire while his unit was engaged in combat with enemy forces. 

The results of this investigation in no way diminish the bravery and sacrifice displayed by Corporal Tillman. Corporal Tillman was shot and killed while responding to enemy fire without regard for his own safety. He focused his efforts on the elimination of enemy forces and the protection of his team members. There is an inherent degree of confusion in any firefight, particularly when a unit is ambushed, and especially under difficult light and terrain conditions which produce an environment that increases the likelihood of fratricide.

Corporal Tillman's platoon was ambushed with small arms and mortar fire at about 7:30 p.m. local time while conducting combat operations in the vicinity of Khowst, Afghanistan. The enemy ambush was immediately responded to by a coalition patrol including Corporal Tillman with direct fire, and an intense firefight lasting approximately 20 minutes ensued.

The ambush was conducted by 10 to 12 enemy personnel from multiple locations over approximately one kilometer in very severe and constricted terrain with impaired light conditions. Following initial contact, Corporal Tillman disembarked from his vehicle and, in support of his unit, moved into position to suppress enemy fire.

We regret the loss of life resulting from this tragic incident. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the Tillman family.

Thank you all for being here this morning.
Arizona State University

Linebacker, 1994-97

The first-ever Arizona State player to be named Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year, Pat Tillman is the sixth Sun Devil to be named to the College Football Hall of Fame. 

A two-time First Team Academic All-Pac10 selection, Tillman led the Sun Devils to the 1996 Pac-10 title and a berth in the Rose Bowl. Named team MVP in 1997, Tillman finished his ASU career with 230 career tackles. He was named Sun Bowl MVP in his senior season and has since been inducted into the Sun Bowl Hall of Fame. Tillman was also named the 1997 Sporting News/Honda Scholar Athlete of the Year. 

Drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the 1998 NFL Draft, Tillman spent three seasons in the NFL before enlisting in the U.S. Army. Tillman, a U.S. Army Ranger, served tours in Iraqi Freedom (2003) and Operation Enduring Freedom (2004) before he was tragically killed. Following his death, he was awarded a Purple Heart by the U.S. Army and a Silver Star by the U.S. Military. Tillman was posthumously honored with the NFF’s Distinguished American Award in 2006. 

The Pat Tillman Foundation was established in his name to promote scholarship, the sprit of community service and supporting veterans, active service members and their dependents. Its signature event, Pat’s Run, attracts over 20,000 participants each year. He is survived by his wife Marie. 



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