The mother of Pat Tillman is speaking out about her son’s death in her first television interview, to be broadcast this Sunday on 60 Minutes.
Tillman, a pro football player, joined the military after 9/11 and was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2004. The Army initially lauded him as a hero who had died storming a hill in the face of enemy fire and even awarded him the Silver Star. They only revealed five weeks later that he had actually died by friendly fire.
The Tillman family has spent years trying to get at the facts of what happened and who was responsible for the cover-up. Even today, they are not convinced it was as innocent an accident as the military claims.
“When I heard it was a friendly fire, I felt terrible for these soldiers,” Mary Tillman stated. “I still do to a degree, but I don’t think it was the horrible accident that they like to play this out. I think there was huge negligence involved here.”
According to the Army, Tillman was firing across a valley at enemy fighters on the other side, but Rangers on the road below thought he was shooting at them and fired back.
A dozen officers and Rangers were disciplined for the incident, but Mary Tillman is still not satisfied. According to CBS, “She points to inconsistencies, including that his uniform was burned after his death, which is against regulations, and that the coroner refused to sign the autopsy for months because his analysis of Tillman’s gunshot wounds was not consistent with the Army’s original story.”
“This isn’t about us,” Mary Tillman told CBS. “This is about what they’ve done to the public. This was a public deception.”
More on the CBS interview can be found here.
This video is from CBS’s Early Show, broadcast May 2, 2008.