CHANDLER, AZ, US
CPL,CO A, 2D BN, 75TH RANGERS, FORT LEWIS, WA
04/22/2004, SALERNO, AFGHANISTAN
Pat Tillman walked away from a lucrative NFL contract to fight for his country. Though Corporal Tillman never publicly offered reasons for his decision to join the Army, several friends have said the terrorist attacks of 9-11-2001 affected him deeply. Corporal Tillman was killed April 22nd in Afghanistan in a firefight near the Pakistan border.
“The underlying thing was his courage and selflessness on the athletic field, in his community and now as a soldier,” said NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue.
“While many of us will be blessed to live a longer life, few of us will ever live a better one,” said Senator John McCain. “He was a most honorable man.”
“He wasn’t interested in headlines,” Gene Upshaw, executive director of the football players’ union, added. “But he was interested in giving everything for a cause, whatever the cause may be.”
Corporal Tillman stood out as a hard-hitting safety in the NFL, but at Fort Lewis he was just another Ranger. “He (Pat Tillman) was a private like everybody else was a private,” according to Staff Sergeant (Retired) Bryan Hannes who was at Fort Lewis when Corporal Tillman arrived. “But he definitely had a sense of maturity and dedication. You could see it in his face, in his eyes.”
Pat Tillman’s family and friends created the Pat Tillman Foundation in 2004 to honor Pat’s legacy and pay tribute to his commitment to leadership and service. The mission of the Pat Tillman Foundation is to invest in military veterans and their spouses through educational scholarships; building a diverse community of leaders committed to service to others.