Most helpful positive review
56 of 58 people found the following review helpful
Troubling Aspects Of Pat Tillman's Death
on September 2, 2009
The most intriguing and troubling part of Mary Tillman's book about Pat Tillman is found at the back of the book. It seems that journalists had used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain from the Pentagon, no less, a copy of the Army doctor's autopsy report on Pat. While the Army doctors state that they virtually never before questioned the official versions of events given to them, this time they did. They said that after Pat had been shot in the legs by three or four of his own men, and fell to a crouching position, still yelling "Cease fire! Friendlies! It's Pat F...ing Tillman! Ceasefire!", he was then shot in the chest. Since he had body armor on, he was still alive. However, he then received three bullets from a 50 caliber machinegun between the eyes to the forehead. The doctor's said the spray pattern was so close together, that the machine gunner had to be very, very close. 60 to 120 feet away, not the much greater distance that the official version stated. The doctors said the gunmen were so close, they may have known who they were shooting, or should have - so they asked for a homicide investigation - and were turned down by Army brass. The officer that was initially charged with the investigation (which was later "lost"), walked the spot Pat was shot 24 hours later, found the smoke grenade Pat threw about 90 to 120 feet and which landed where the attacking vehicle's tracks ended, showing he was quite close. It was after this smoke grenade went off, and the attacker's quit firing a second sequence, that Pat stood - and was shot in a third sequence of firing,in three seperate places. Although Pat had his head essentially blown off,and was put into a body bag - the Army officially claimed he was still alive and had CPR performed - twice. Of course, his mother questioned this, saying his head had been blown off. She was told, "Ma'am, we usually aren't questioned about trying to save someone's life". Pat's younger brother, Richard, states in the book that he believed Pat had been murdered. It is important to remember that the driver of the attacking vehicle, Ranger Kellet Satyre,said he knew instantly when coming out of the canyon that his Ranger buddies were firing on U.S. Rangers, and saw Ranger vehicles, yet still continued towards Pat's position without turning his vehicle around and leaving the scene. He also failed to notify his buddies that they were firing at Rangers through three sequences of firing - one to reload. How did he escape courts-martial? All three Rangers claimed they had "tunnel vision" and did not see the Ranger vehicles in plain sight, in daylight. One claimed he had eye laser surgery the week before and only saw shapes....why was his eye doctor not court-martialed for allowing him to be out on patrol with a dangerous weapon among his buddies?
While the official version is that three of the snipers were shooting from a moving vehicle, Bryan O'Neil, the 18 year old Ranger by Pat's side, clearly stated that he was sure all four, including the driver, were, in the third firing sequence on Pat's position, on the ground, firing at Pat. Higher ups claimed he was too traumatized by the incident...yet, later Bryan's supposed account was put on the fictious silver star citation for Pat as a witness (however, there was no signature by Bryan or the other "witness". Their names were added as witnesses without their knowledge). The only signature on the award was by General McCrystal. Usually no award is given in the military without witness signatures, to my knowledge.
When the sniper that shot Pat with the S.A.W. machine gun was asked why he shot Pat when he was waving his arms over his head, he said he saw Pat waving his arms, but decided to shoot him anyway. If he could make out Pat's arms, then why not Pat's Ranger uniform, or his face? Most if not all of the Rangers with Pat were waving their arms and yelling "cease fire!". The men shooting at Pat all claimed they had "tunnel vision", and did not see all the Rangers waving their arms or the Ranger vehicles nearby. Bryan O'Neal, the Ranger next to Pat, and another Ranger just behind him, both stated that the men that killed Pat were no more than 120 feet from him, or less - in broad daylight.
The driver of the attacking vehicle, Kellet Satyre, claimed he knew "within a split second" of coming out of the canyon that there were Rangers and Ranger vehicles ahead of him, yet he failed, in the two lulls in firing at Pat, to tell his three passengers firing at Pat - or to turn the vehicle around and drive away, rather than to keep advancing.
Kevin Tillman, Pat's brother, who was in a vehicle behind the vehicle load of Rangers that shot up Pat, was not told what happened and quickly shipped out.
Mary Tillman and family were also told by Army brass that there were no bullet fragments left in Pat. The Army doctor's autopsy report said there were fragments in Pat.
The autopsy doctor, and his commander, refused to sign the coroner's report for three months. When he did, he stated there were marks on Pat's chest consistent with marks made by a defribalator. Why would he say this if he knew Pat's head had been blown off? Did he do the autopsy from photographs that did not show Pat's head? The marks on his chest were probably more consistent with Pat's body armor being hit many times...
Later, Ranger Kevin Tillman, was told he would be assigned to the same squad as three of the snipers that shot his brother, and sent to Iraq. He told his superior that he refused to serve with them. Bryan O'Neal, the Ranger with Pat, was sent back to Ranger school, then to the same squad as the driver of the vehicle that attacked Pat, Kellet Satyre. This driver tried to convince Bryan that it was Pat's own fault that he got shot. Strange set of circumstances, to say the least.
It is interesting to note, that Pat was not shot during just one rapid targeting sequence. He was shot at, then the shooting stopped, He was again shot at again, and he threw a smoke grenade. In addition, a sergeant on the ridgeline shot a signal flare. The firing stopped yet again. Pat assumed the smoke grenade signaled that they were Rangers, and again stood waving his arms, yelling, " It's Pat F... Tillman, Friendlies! Cease fire!", Supposedly the gunman were reloading, stated the lead gunman, a Sgt. Baker, and during the third firing sequence, Pat was shot first in the legs. When he fell to a crouching position, he was then shot in the chest, saved by his body armor. Finally, he received three shots to the forehead,by Ranger Stephen Ashpole, actually destroying his head. Nevertheless, they claimed he had CPR twice, so they could burn his body armor and clothes. Army regs require you to be alive in order to destroy the clothes as a biohazard. If it was acknowledged he was dead, the evidence, by regulation, could not be destroyed. The first person assigned to an investigation, which was later "lost", saw the body armor shot up. The four gunners also shot the platoon leader and the radio operator. All bullets found in anyone or any vehicle were "green tipped" - meaning U.S. issue.
When Mary Tillman questioned the Army brass on why the Ranger snipers fired a third time at Pat, after he threw a purple smoke grenade, they stated they were wrong about telling her it was purple, that it was actually white, and the snipers thought the massive amount of billowing smoke was just "dust be kicked up by the bullets". Mary Tillman said she was at the Ranger graduation ceremonies, where smoke grenades were used for theatrical effect, and found that hard to believe.
It doesn't help that Pat, with his enlistment almost up, had made an appointment with an M.I.T. professor, Noam Chomsky, a highly regarded intellectual and language acquisition research pioneer, who was against the Iraq invasion, to talk. In the minds of many, this adds cynical overtones to the story. You also have to ask why Pat was given more psychological evaluations than any other Ranger he knew.
What is all the more shocking and amazing is that people like Glenn Beck and O'Reilly never seem to read or look into things like this, and report to the American public. Is it simply incompetence, or calculated omission on their part?
The question at hand is, you must ask yourself if this was unintentional homicidal negligence - or was it intentional homicide? The homicide investigation requested by the Army doctors who did the autopsy report, and did not know it was "friendly fire", was refused by higher ups, so we may never know.
My heartfelt condolences to Pat's wife and family. Mary Tillman is a courageous woman who somehow managed to write this book and have the names of the people responsible brought out into the court of public opinion, including those who know them well, such as relatives, friends and others in their social circle. They must live with what they have done, whether they were active in the shooting or the coverup. There is a certain justice to that.