April 24, 2004


Two years ago Pat Tillman turned his back on a $3.6 million NFL contract to become a US Army Ranger -- for $1,000 per month.

Tillman is now reported to have been killed during fighting in Afghanistan:

Pat Tillman, the former Arizona Cardinals safety who left football to become an Army Ranger, was killed in southeastern Afghanistan, according to published reports.

Tillman, who attended Arizona State University, returned from his honeymoon in 2002 having decided to give up his seven-figure NFL salary to join the Army with his brother.

He was with the Army Special Forces in Afghanistan, where U.S. forces have been trying to chase down Osama bin Laden and members of his al-Qaeda terrorist group. During major combat in war with Iraq, Tillman was reportedly stationed with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in northern Iraq.

The Army has refused to confirm Tillman's death. He was 27.

Posted by Tim Blair at April 24, 2004 03:40 AM

god bless him and his family. i understand his brother may be in the same platoon.

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at April 24, 2004 at 03:45 AM

What an inspirational hero, and a man of class.

Pat Tillman like every member of our armed forces makes me proud to call myself American knowing that men and women like him are willing and able to stand up and make the hard choices for the right reasons.

He and his family are in my prayers.

Posted by: mapchic at April 24, 2004 at 03:50 AM

Thank you Pat Tillman for your generous heart, your service, and your sacrifice. My thoughts and prayers are with your family and your young bride.

(Thank you for posting this, Tim.)

Posted by: Polly at April 24, 2004 at 04:04 AM

Please contact the office of NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue and encourage him to universally retire Pat Tillman's #40.

Commissioner Paul Tagliabue
National Football League, Inc.
280 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10017
(212) 450-2000

Posted by: iowahawk at April 24, 2004 at 04:12 AM

True hero. Didn't want the accolades. Didn't want the publicity. You just know you wouldnt hear him going on about how he "Served in Afghanistan" every other sentence had he come back safely.

I don't know what else to say. A true hero and inspiration. God Bless him and those that know him.

Posted by: Dash at April 24, 2004 at 04:18 AM

A true hero.....Hey Osama!!!There's more from where that came from. You think you are the strong horse?

Thanks for posting this Tim, and believe me, the level of commitment Mr Tillman displayed is not unusual for members of the US Rangers......

Posted by: Tman at April 24, 2004 at 04:28 AM

May God receive him inot His glory. He was a better man than me.

Posted by: Joel at April 24, 2004 at 04:32 AM


Amen. Better than me.

Posted by: zzx375 at April 24, 2004 at 04:38 AM

May God bless him and his family. What a hero.

Rangers Lead The Way!

Posted by: Rangerwife at April 24, 2004 at 05:10 AM

The NFLís Lonely Hero
By Paul Beston
Published 12/4/2003

Posted by: Mike at April 24, 2004 at 05:21 AM

God bless him and his family. What a good man.

Posted by: Donnah at April 24, 2004 at 06:04 AM

I would like to second what LGF commenter Rick W. posted:

It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived. -- General George S. Patton

Posted by: Spiny Norman at April 24, 2004 at 06:40 AM

Few celebrities/sports stars that have any integrity whatsoever.

This man was something else.

I hope he gets the recognition he deserves.

Posted by: Oktober at April 24, 2004 at 07:30 AM

Oh God another celebrity orgy. Soap opera takes over the world.

You might do these guys the honor of taking them seriously for once.

Bunch of women.

[This person has been banned. -- The Management]

Posted by: Ron Hardin at April 24, 2004 at 08:52 AM

Hopefully, Mr. B., you won't get the trolls and troglodytes that responded to "A Small Victory"'s honorarium of Ranger Tillman.

Thank God for the tough men and women who put up their lives and liberty before ours, so we can keep ours, and those of the ones we love.

While you're at it, spare a kind thought for the tough-stomached men & women of the Dover AFB Port Mortuary. (Maybe drop a line to the Public Affairs section at Dover.af.mil) Such a shitty, thankless job now being semi-scandalized by the kerfuffle over photographs... who gives a shit!? Handling the remains of our honored fallen should NEVER, ever be politicized or sensationalized. Those who would should be eternally ashamed of themselves.

On to victory.

Posted by: geezer at April 24, 2004 at 08:53 AM

Rest in peace, Pat. My condolences and sympathies to his family and friends.

Posted by: JeffS at April 24, 2004 at 09:02 AM


What? Here is a man that turned his back on fame and fortune and decided to serve his country. He had it and walked away to serve. No orgy, just respects to a man who was better than any of us - and certainly better than you.

If there was sarcasm in your post I missed, excuse me, but you are an ass.

Posted by: JEM at April 24, 2004 at 09:28 AM

It's funny. I've thought about Tillman many times and was just talking about him the other day, wondering where he was...I hadn't realized he was in Afghanastan and was sick when I heard the news. I think this serves to highlight the many REAL men and woman in the service who give all.

My husbands best friend was killed in Iraq last month..he was only days away from redeploying back to the states..This man did not have to go. He was only months away from retirement and so was exempt from going to Iraq. His wife begged him not to go. His children begged him not to go. His father, a vietnam vet, begged him not to go. But he said he'd served 22 years in the military and felt he had never done his job because he had never been in combat. And he didn't want someone else leading his soldiers into combat.

Now his wife of 24 years is facing the future alone. Her husband gave up about $1,200.00 a month in pension payments, not a multi-million dollar football contract. His teenage son will have to graduate from high school this May without his father being there. His daughter was thankful that at least her dad got to walk her down the isle at her wedding. Unfortunatly her husband, a coptor pilot will be leaving soon for Iraq. Some people have to keep sacrificing.

My husband is very lucky, he survived his year in Iraq without a scratch on the outside. But he is somewhat different, more quiet and not his usual outgoing self. He has nightmares. One morning I accidently slammed the bathroom door and he jumped about a foot. I'm giving him time and letting him talk when the mood strikes him. He is due to retire in September..but Henry Bacon won't be going through the retirement ceremony as they'd planned to do together.

The military is made up of countless men who make choices and sacrfices like this all the time. They are usually just numbers though...Remember when we hit the magic number of *600* casualties?? I was so angry over that. I'm pretty sure number 600 had a name and a family.

Posted by: KellyW. at April 24, 2004 at 09:33 AM

Men and women, Kelly.

And unfortunately, we're going to sacrifice a lot more.

My nephew just deployed to Afghanistan. He chose to go in.

Posted by: Sandy P. at April 24, 2004 at 10:10 AM

Pat Tillman was a true hero, a man willing to give up everything for the nation he loved.

Compare him with Michael Moore, Barbra Streisand and the rest of the "holier than thou" crowd if you really want to make yourself mad.

Can anyone imagining Barbra giving up ONE MEAL for the war effort? Michael Moore obviously hasn't.

Posted by: Posse Incitatus at April 24, 2004 at 10:24 AM

Posse Incitatus, don't fret yerself into an unnecessary lather -- the "beautiful people" never, ever pay attention to someone who's been in battle unless they gotta run him for president or something... to them, military service is a fool's game, nothing more.

Those of us who know better should think about trying to convince the Arizona Cardinals about renaming their stadium. One, it honors not only Ranger Tillman, but all our fallen comrades. Two, it pisses off the very people who claim to be "behind the troops" but against the war.

Dig it.

Posted by: geezer at April 24, 2004 at 12:01 PM

The DoD has confirmed Pat's death.

His former team, the Arizona Cardinals, are honoring him.

Posted by: Tom at April 24, 2004 at 12:04 PM


I served a year in Vietnam as a medic at an Army Evacuation Hospital, and not a day goes by that I donít think about it. I still remember the name of the first soldier I saw die. So it should come as no surprise that your post just broke my heart. You have reminded me that the only word to describe war is ďsadĒ. But, more importantly, the strength and tenderness you show gives me great comfort. You and yours carry a heavy burden and add to its weight by doing so with dignity.

As I know too well, for those who have seen war, there will always be a darkness that they will forever face alone. But there is also an equal light, an appreciation of life, an odd sense of humor, and a confidence that is extremely rare. This is what you must look for and appreciate, and this is what you can share.

I once heard that even the longest life is but a moment in time. Itís not the length of a life, but its breadth.

Posted by: George at April 24, 2004 at 12:38 PM


Dumb Jock Killed in Afghanistan

Posted by: Oktober at April 24, 2004 at 12:48 PM

Actually, about the Left, at least on the main leftwing blogs--Kos, Atrios et al.--I've noticed a general silence on Tillman's death. My guess is they simply don't know what to say about it.

Posted by: S.A. Smith at April 24, 2004 at 01:11 PM

Or they've finally figured out what it does to their credibility when they speak honestly.

Posted by: Sortelli at April 24, 2004 at 01:16 PM

I think (at least hope) the Amercian people in general know what the hardcore left mean when they say they "support the troops"...Given a chance, the "anti-war" types would be more than happy to restart that fine old tradition of spitting on returning soldiers.

When my husband returned from Iraq, at his first layover in Maine he was greeted by some old vets handing out food, water and free cell phones...I'd like to see a "peace activist" get around an old vet! Instead they have to content themselves with mocking dead soldiers on the internet.

I sometimes wish they'd bring back the draft. Canada is more than welcome to take on the fleeing scum. I'd be more than happy to provide shuttle service.

Posted by: KellyW. at April 24, 2004 at 01:45 PM

Oktober, you bastard, I clicked the link, did the reading, and nearly smashed my computer with mounting fury until I remembered that would only feed the evil cycle of Western materialism by forcing me to buy a new one.

I'm surprised the gang of retards posting on that site haven't tried making parallels between Tillman and bin Laden - man gives up life of luxury and millions of dollars for the sake of his convictions. Maybe I shouldn't give them ideas.

That people with the courage and sound moral compass of Tillman and his colleagues exist is both humbling and uplifting to me.

Posted by: Crispytoast at April 24, 2004 at 01:52 PM

". . .the fine old tradition of spitting on returning soldiers."

They're calling that an "urban legend" these days.

Posted by: Sortelli at April 24, 2004 at 01:53 PM

I used to just hope that California would crack off and float away. But after reading that Portland IndyMedia crap, I'm going to have to extend that breakoff all the way north to Canada and let them all drown.

RIP Ranger Tillman. You are a credit to the uniform and to the ideals of America.

Posted by: Patrick at April 24, 2004 at 02:01 PM

I just saw a poster on a sight my girlfriend frequents say:

"Suicide bombers give up a lot for their causes. Are they admirable?"

Suffice to say I needed to calm down after reading that and calling the poster some choice names.

Posted by: Dash at April 24, 2004 at 02:10 PM

Administrative announcement: trolls to this post will have their IPs banned and their comments deleted -- not merely lined out. I left Mr. Hardin's post up that way as a warning.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at April 24, 2004 at 02:48 PM

Wow, after reading that Indymedia thread I'm speechless. Such bile, such misinformed individuals, such utter neo-Marxist twaddle. And such vile hatred. Take deep breaths while reading, because it's about as ugly a thread as I've ever read anywhere on the 'net.

Posted by: Jeff at April 24, 2004 at 02:58 PM

A real MAN. We are blessed to have so many young people who are ready to put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms.

This generation is just as good as the 'Greatest Generation'. We have so many who understand that freedom is neither cheap or free. Freedom is very costly.

When Veteran's day (in the US) comes around I like to pause, and remember with my family, ALL the Vets who have sacrificed so we can live in a free country.

I'm sure this is the same in the UK and Australia as well. (Remembering and honoring the soldiers.)

I don't mean to sound corny, but it's good for us to remember the sacrifices made for us so we can live in free countries. We have so much we take for granted, and freedom is, unfortunately, one of them.

I pray that God will bring comfort to his family and keep his brother (who is in the same company, I believe?) safe.

Posted by: Chris Josephson at April 24, 2004 at 03:01 PM

In my mind, we came here to thank God that men like these have lived rather than to regret that they have died.

-General George Patton


Seems appropriate.

Posted by: rosignol at April 24, 2004 at 03:16 PM

I have a strange internal struggle when reading that indymedia thread. On one had, the rational part of me knows that it is basically a whole thread of trolls, spewing out whatever hateful cliches their adolescent minds are fixated on currently. As such, I know that i should just ignore them, as exposure and interest is like oxygen to their flame of stupidity.
On the other hand, reading them gloat and literally dance on the grave of an apparently decent, honourable man, who gave up a life of privilege and fame to do a dangerous, thankless job, fills me with a white hot rage.

I feel nothing but utter contempt for those gutless anonymous posters, and it reinforces the sacrifice that members of the armed forces make, laying down their lives for people who would happily spit on their very memory.

Posted by: Paul at April 24, 2004 at 04:00 PM


Atrios: "Former Arizona Cardinal Pat Tillman, who left behind a lucrative contract to sign up for the military, died in Afghanistan."

Disrespectful enough?

Posted by: Michael at April 24, 2004 at 04:38 PM

Well, Michael, I posted my comment several hours ago. Before posting here I had been at Atrios's site and looked specifically for commentary about Tillman. When I couldn't find anything, I actually did an Edit>Find search for "Tillman" on the page and still came up with nothing. But thanks to your post I went back and checked it out. Brief and respectful with the obligatory jab at the Bush administration. And the comments section was not nearly as grotesque as I would have expected. So I stand corrected re Atrios. Kos, on the otherhand, remains scum.

Posted by: S.A. Smith at April 24, 2004 at 05:50 PM

Oh there are soldiers dying in Afghanistan? I thought the peaceniks said we abandoned that region to focus on Iraq. I guess if its not on the news every night then it isn't happening!

Posted by: TJW at April 24, 2004 at 08:34 PM

"How can I live among this gentle,
obsolescent breed of heroes and not weep?
unicorns almost...

These plains were a cricket pitch
and in the hills the tremendous drop fences
brought down some of the runners, who
under these stones and in the earth lounge still
in famous attitudes of unconcern. Listen
against the bullet cries the simple horn."

--Keith Douglas

Posted by: Alex Bensky at April 24, 2004 at 11:36 PM

It is now in Australia ANZAC day(Australian & New Zealand Army Corp) like so many Australians many of my relatives served and several died in service.

Pat Tillman is an exemplar of the spirit of the the American fighting man. I am saddened at the news of his passing as I am at the news of all of our(coalition) fighting men and women.

I do not know if the the recitation that accompanies all of our official days of rememberance (and which is recited every night in our RSL clubs) is widely known but it does seem to be appropriate.

They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun, and in the morning. We will remember them

Posted by: Just someone at April 25, 2004 at 03:22 AM

I tried reading that Indymedia thread on the basis of 'know your enemy' but I was too sickened to read more than the first few posts. I'm with Oktober - this fifth column needs rooting out and exposing for what it is. My only consolation is that these people must hate themselves even more than they hate America.

Our Armed Forces (US, UK and Australia) are a special breed.

Posted by: David Gillies at April 25, 2004 at 05:52 AM

Rest in Peace, Pat.

Pat is a symbol of what America is about for most of us. This is why his noble and heroic story upsets those that are anti-American, anti-reality, anti-logic and/or anti-everything.

People like Pat are an indisputable proof that the vile venom they constantly spew about America is wrong, hateful and illogical.

Most of our troops have the same motivations that Pat had. But with Pat giving up what he did to fight for his country, it makes it impossible for those anti-everything people to discredit him as they attempt to do with all of the coalition troops and America in general.

This makes them lash out in anger and frustration. And so, in this way, Pat is STILL fighting the good fight. Even his memory is having a negative and demoralizing effect on the enemy and those that support and sympathize with the enemy.

He remains an inspiration and great source of pride to all of us, as do all of our troops fighting the good fight.

Posted by: Cherice at April 25, 2004 at 07:56 AM