Pat Tillman Biography

(American Professional Football Player Who Joined Army After September 11, 2001 Attacks)

Birthday: November 6, 1976 (Scorpio)

Born In: Fremont, California, United States

Pat Tillman was a professional American football player who later got enlisted in the US Army, following the 9/11 attacks. He was stationed in Iraq and then in Afghanistan and was part of several American operations there, before being killed by a friendly-fire incident. What brought widespread media attention to this case was the fact that his death was initially masqueraded as a “death in enemy fire.” Born and raised in California, Pat enrolled at the ‘Arizona State University’ and was subsequently selected by the ‘Arizona Cardinals’ to play in the ‘National Football League’ (NFL). In May 2002, immediately after the 2001 ‘NFL’ season, he rejected a lucrative contract from his team to further his association with them and enlisted in the army instead. After being part of a few operations in Iraq, he was stationed in Afghanistan in 2004. In April 2004, it was reported that he was martyred in an attack carried out by Afghan militants. In May, ‘The Pentagon’ informed his parents that he was killed by friendly fire, upon which Pat’s family accused the Ministry of Defense of delaying the revelation of the truth and of lying in order to save their reputation.
Quick Facts

Nick Name: Pat

Also Known As: Patrick Daniel Tillman Jr.

Died At Age: 27


Spouse/Ex-: Marie Tillman (m. 2002–2004)

father: Patrick Tillman Sr.

mother: Mary Tillman

siblings: Kevin Tillman

Died Young Soldiers

Height: 1.8 m

Died on: April 22, 2004

place of death: Spera, Khost Province, Afghanistan

Cause of Death: Killed In Action

Notable Alumni: Arizona State University

U.S. State: California

More Facts

education: Arizona State University

awards: Purple Heart
Silver Star
Arthur Ashe Courage Award

Childhood & Early Life
Pat Tillman was born on November 6, 1976, in Fremont, California, to Patrick Kevin Tillman and Mary. He was the first-born child of his parents and had two younger brothers, Kevin and Richard. Kevin too was a footballer who later joined the army.
Pat was an ardent football fan. He played football quiet often with his brothers. He also played it throughout his school years. He enrolled at the ‘Bret Harte Middle School’ and then at the ‘Leland High School.’ He was one of the best players in his school football team and helped his high school compete in the ‘Central Coast Division I Football Championship.’
He earned a football scholarship and joined the ‘Arizona State University’ (ASU). He was academically good, but was always hopeful of a career in football. Despite spending most of his time on the football field, he managed to win the ‘Clyde B. Smith Academic Award’ in 1996 and 1997.
Pat was destined for a bright future. He had a lot of friends, whom he wrote to while serving in the army. He was also close to his family, especially to his younger brother Kevin, as they shared the same interests.
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Football Career
Pat Tillman was one of the most daring linebackers in the ‘ASU’ team and proved his worth repeatedly. This led to his selection for the major leagues in 1998. He was the 226th pick of the ‘Arizona Cardinals,’ an ‘NFL’ team. He took over the “safety” position and played in 10 of the 16 games of his very first season.
He was a man who showcased true integrity. The ‘Arizona Cardinals’ were relatively small in terms of finances. However, when the ‘St. Louis Rams’ offered him a contract worth US$ 9 million, he denied the offer. Pat proved his loyalty to the ‘Cardinals’ and decided to play exclusively for them in the coming seasons.
In the 1999 season, Tillman’s performance exceeded all expectations. He ended the season with 155 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 1.5 sacks, and 9 pass deflections. As a result, ‘Sports Illustrated’ awarded him a place in the 2000 ‘NFL All-Pro’ team.
By the end of his ‘NFL’ career, Pat had achieved the status of one of the best young players in the league. He ended his career with 238 tackles, 3 forced fumbles, 12 pass deflections, and 2.5 sacks in the 60 games that he played. It was an exceptional performance, but the 2001 season proved to be his last one on the field. The 9/11 attacks took place in the same year and shook the world. This motivated Pat to do something that would benefit his nation.
The ‘Cardinals’ were not happy with Tillman’s choice of joining the army and offered him a three-year contract worth US$ 3.6 million. However, he rejected the contract. After the 9/11 attacks, Pat played 15 more games till the end of the season and finally got enlisted in the army in May 2002.
Pat had once famously stated that although he had made a meaningful career in sports, his decision to join the military had stemmed from the fact that he wished to be significant to his nation in broader terms. His younger brother Kevin, who was also a football player, joined Pat by enlisting in the army. This story invited a lot of media attention, as it was highly unlikely that somebody at the peak of a lucrative sports career would make a decision such as Pat’s.
By September 2002, the brothers had completed their basic training. They also completed the ‘Ranger Indoctrination Program’ later that year. They were soon assigned to the ‘2nd Ranger Battalion’ in Fort Lewis, Washington. Before he was deployed to Iraq, Pat stayed with his wife in ‘University Place.’ The brothers further graduated from ‘Ranger School’ in November 2003. In early 2004, Pat was deployed to Iraq.
Death & Aftermath
On April 22, 2004, it was reported that Pat had been killed in an attack by Afghan militants. The Army claimed that they were ambushed by militants, on a road near the Pakistan border. However, once he was buried, further investigations suggested that the case was false and that Pat’s death was caused by friendly fire.
It was reported that a fight occurred and an allied group opened fire on another, mistaking it for a hostile element. Pat was shot three times in the head. ‘The Washington Post’ later reported that Tillman’s family had requested an investigation into the matter. The investigations proved that Pat’s death was due to friendly fire. However, army officials had not revealed the true cause of Pat’s death, fearing bad reputation and public backlash.
In 2005, ‘The Pentagon’ finally reopened the case, but the 2000-page testimony was complicated and did not help much in clarifying what had actually happened. It was also reported that the army had done everything in its power to cover the truth from being revealed, by burning Pat’s clothes and belongings and by hiding his body parts.
Despite various theories, there has been no concrete evidence related to the real cause of Pat’s death. His younger brother Kevin is determined to find the real truth behind his beloved brother’s death.
Pat Tillman was posthumously honored with a ‘Purple Heart’ and a ‘Silver Star Medal.’ In 2010, he was inducted into the ‘College Football Hall of Fame.’
Personal Life
Pat Tillman was in a long-term relationship with his high-school girlfriend, Marie Ugenti Tillman, whom he married just before his induction into the army.
Pat was an atheist. According to the speakers at his funeral, he was very philosophical, apart from being a well-read man who had read many religious texts.
In 2005, a leading media organization stated that Tillman was against the Iraq war. This somehow rested all the claims that had suggested that he was a “conservative” and proved that he had been a “leftist” and a “liberal.”
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