Today In History: Pat Tillman Killed In Action

by Seth Udinski
Today In History: Pat Tillman Killed In Action

Seth Udinski, FISM News


In the midst of civil unrest and chaos in the United States, today is the anniversary of the death of a true American hero.  On April 22, 2004, Cpl. Pat Tillman was killed in action serving his country.

Tillman was a talented athlete, and in the 1998 NFL Draft, the Arizona Cardinals selected him in the 7th round.  At such a low spot in the draft, Tillman was not seen as a superstar, but he battled his way onto the Cardinals starting roster as a safety and set a team record for tackles in the 2000 season.

In the wake of the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001, however, Tillman made a life-changing decision.  After the 2001 NFL season, just as he was entering the prime of his career, Tillman announced that he was enlisting in the U.S. Army, much to the surprise of the sports world.  He enlisted for a three-year term and was on the front lines during the U.S. War on Terror in the Middle East.

During Operation Enduring Freedom in the spring of 2004, Tillman’s unit in Afghanistan was attacked.  In an attempt to protect the soldiers in his unit, Tillman was shot and killed by friendly fire.  Some accounts say that he was hit while covering for a younger soldier.  He was survived by wife and high school sweetheart, Marie.

Tillman’s legacy is one of courage and selflessness, and he is an example to a generation that desperately needs it.  He abandoned millions of dollars and a life of relative ease playing a child’s game to serve and protect his country, giving his life so that others could be free.