Pat Tillman, Where Is The Hero’s Last Jersey?

Pat Tillman, Where Is The Hero’s Last Jersey?

Pat Tillman, Where Is The Hero’s Last Jersey?

The 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks is less than two months away. Hard to believe. A whole generation has grown up, gone to Afghanistan, and returned home who were not born on the day of the attack. Most of these young men and women have never heard of Pat Tillman. They don’t know of his sacrifice or death. Yet when Bagram Air Force base was shut down, the USO made sure to remove his last football jersey. My heart swells.

Pat Tillman left a successful and lucrative career in the National Football League to join the U.S. Army in 2002 after the September 11 attacks and after he had fulfilled his contract with the Arizona Cardinals. He was 25 years old. He was in the prime of athletic ability and earnings potential. Tillman was a rebel, not known for being shy and retiring. He was known for his humility. This video presents a picture of his youth, discipline and humility:

Sorry you had to click on the video to watch it on YouTube. Whatever, NFL.

What do you want to bet that everyone on the team thought he was their best friend? He sounds like he was so much fun. What also comes across is his mental toughness. The same mental toughness that it takes to wear the tan Ranger beret.

Specialist Tillman died in a friendly fire incident on April 22, 2004 in Spera in the Khost Province of Afghanistan, age 27. He was posthumously promoted to Corporal. Unfortunately, retired General Stanley McChrystal lied and covered up the true nature of Tillman’s death. Our Nina wrote about this egregious lie told by McChrystal. Bad, bad things happen in war. The nature of his death, truly the nature of any American combatant’s death, in war doesn’t diminish the sacrifice made by Pat Tillman. Nor does it make him any less a hero to be admired and remembered.

The United Service Organizations (USO) has served active duty service personnel since 1941. I remember seeing pictures of my son’s soldiers playing video games at the USO at Kandahar Air Field (KAF). The soldiers first U.S. hamburgers were served by the USO in Bangor, Maine on their way back to Fort Bliss.

The soldiers at Bagram Air Field played video games and relaxed at USO Pat Tillman.

Earlier this month, I wrote about this administration’s ignominious withdrawal from Bagram. The Joes who actually fight the war deserved better than that. But I was wrong about something. I wrote in the post that the 9/11 steel beam gifted to Bagram by the Sons and Daughters of America, Breezy Point had been left behind. It was not. According to Stars & Stripes:

A steel beam from the World Trade Center, donated to Bagram as a memorial, became a concern after no one could initially remember where it went. They eventually learned it had been relocated in 2015 to Fort Drum, N.Y.

As the USO closed down operations at Bagram other memorials were moved:

Elsewhere around the sprawling base, troops saved a memorial to five soldiers and contractors killed in a 2016 suicide bombing. It’s in transit to Fort Hood, Texas, where it will be re-dedicated, said Michael Garrett, spokesman for the 1st Cavalry Division Sustainment Brigade.

A plaque for troops from the Czech Republic has been taken to Prague, where it will become part of the Military History Institute’s collection, said spokeswoman Lt. Col. Vlastimila Cyprisová.

What about Pat Tillman’s last jersey?

The USO kept employees at Bagram as long as possible, in part to ensure that the mementos soldiers left there could be brought home, said Alan Reyes, the organization’s chief operating officer.

“We do our best to preserve artifacts of historical or symbolic significance to us,” Reyes said.

The centerpiece was a framed Tillman jersey, “which means a lot to people,” Medeiros said.

The USO got it back to the United States:

The Tillman jersey is now at USO headquarters in Arlington, Va. It may be sent later to Arizona, where his family and foundation are based, the USO said.

That jersey is important. Every military personnel killed in action deserves to have his/her story told. What’s important about the story of Pat Tillman isn’t the nature of his death. What’s important is his patriotism, discipline, service and sacrifice. We have so little of that today. Every story is important.

Pat Tillman was an American hero. His jersey is a visual reminder.

Featured Image: Pat Tillman/U.S. Army/Public Domain

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2 Comments
  • When we recover this country (which will happen, someday), pretty much every officer O6 (Colonel / Navy Captain) and above needs to be investigated for treasonous activity. Every officer O7 and above will need to be relieved of duty until that investigation is complete (and most of them will end up in Leavenworth).

    From what I hear from people in service or recently out – CW(O)4 and above also need to be cleaned out. E9s also need to be looked at.

    HOPEFULLY no lower in the ranks. But that depends on how deep President Asterisk manages to drill the rot.

    • SFC D says:

      He won’t drill into the rot. His Lord and Master Obama worked too hard to create it. It’s his support system, starting right at the chairman of the joint chiefs.

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