August 23, 2005
IG to review Army probe of NFL star’s death
The Pentagon’s inspector general is reviewing the Army’s probe into the friendly fire death of former pro football player Pat Tillman, a spokesman said. Tillman’s parents welcomed the decision.
“The other investigations were frauds,” Tillman’s father, Patrick Tillman, told the San Francisco Chronicle.
“People above should have been punished,” added Mary Tillman, referring to her sons commanding officers.
In response to an inquiry from the newspaper, the Pentagon confirmed that the Army had requested the investigation be reviewed.
Pentagon inspector general Gary Comerford did not provide further detail, but said elements of the military frequently seek such reviews.
Tillman, who played for the Arizona Cardinals in the National Football League, left football after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to join the Army with his brother.
After a tour in Iraq, they were sent to Afghanistan in 2004 to help hunt for the Taliban and Osama bin Laden.
On April 22, 2004, Tillman was killed by gunfire from his fellow soldiers, who mistook him for the enemy as he got into position to defend them, military officials have said. After the initial reports of his death, the military for weeks did not dispute the widespread belief he was killed by enemy fire.
His memorial service in San Jose, Calif., took place May 3, 2004. The Army announced 26 days later that Tillman likely died because of friendly fire.
His family has been highly critical of the military’s handling of his death.
The Defense Department has already completed an investigation into Tillman’s death that was aimed at concerns raised about whether the Army held back information, but its findings weren’t made public.
The Army has previously said it should have better handled the information on Tillman’s death, but denied it attempted to cover up the information.