Pat Tillman, 10 years later
This is one of those "I know where I was when I heard the news" moments for me. I was in training down at Ft. Bragg, getting ready to deploy to the same general area. One person in the Company heard the news, and it took about 5 minutes before everyone had heard. We were pretty serious about training up until then, but the grumbling went down with the news that we were headed into this area.
It turns out our sector was moderately more peaceful at the time (Gazni and Wardak) although later on it became a real bad area. In fact, it was in Ghazni that I was embedded and we got attacked 2 years ago.
Anyway, a couple of news stories out today on the death of Pat, and how folks are dealing with it. First, Pat's wife, Marie:
For Marie, it was hard to understand the public mourning at first. Pat wasn’t an icon to her; he was her best friend.
“I struggled in the beginning with ... my feelings about him and other people’s feelings,” she says. Perfect strangers would tell her about how his life had a profound impact on theirs — even though they never knew her Pat.
In time, she says, she came to realize that they knew their own Pat. And she found a place in her life for both.
“I didn’t feel it’s my place to take that away from people,” she says. “That is a wonderful gift that he’s given to so many people.”
You should go read the whole piece by CLICKING HERE.
Meanwhile, ESPN's Outside the Lines has the story of Ranger Steven Elliot, who is living with the knowledge that it might have been his rounds that struck Tillman:
In his first public statements about the death of Pat Tillman, the former NFL player turned Army Ranger, one of the fellow Rangers involved in the 2004 friendly-fire incident in Afghanistan told ESPN's "Outside the Lines" he has lived for 10 years with the thought that he might have fired the fatal shots.
"It is possible, in my mind, that I hit him," said Steven Elliott, who had been engaged in his first firefight as an Army Ranger when Tillman died on April 22, 2004, in the mountainous terrain of southeast Afghanistan...
The locations of the fatal bullets, all in an approximately two-inch area of Tillman's head, could have been too neat and too precise to be the work of a machine gunner. But Elliott said he was trained to fire his automatic weapon with the precision of a rifle, not to spray fire in Rambo-like fashion.
"You aim at a point, and you fire a burst. You are holding your trigger for a fraction of a second, but that fraction of a second releases three to five rounds," he said. "If it looked like you had [three] rounds and very close to one another, well, that was very consistent to how I was firing my weapon at that point. ... It would be disingenuous for me to say there is no way my rounds didn't kill him, because my rounds very well could have."
You can read that whole piece by CLICKING HERE as well.
The whole thing is just so sad.