Saturday, March 31, 2007

Gen. tried to warn Bush on Tillman

Just seven days after Pat Tillman's death, a top general warned there were strong indications that it was friendly fire and President Bush might embarrass himself if he said the NFL star-turned-soldier died in an ambush, according to a memo obtained by The Associated Press.
It was not until a month afterward that the
Pentagon told the public and grieving family members the truth — that Tillman was mistakenly killed in
Afghanistan by his comrades.
In a memo sent to a four-star general a week after Tillman's April 22, 2004, death, then-Maj. Gen. Stanley McChrystal warned that it was "highly possible" the Army Ranger was killed by friendly fire. McChrystal made it clear his warning should be conveyed to the president.
"I felt that it was essential that you received this information as soon as we detected it in order to preclude any unknowing statements by our country's leaders which might cause public embarrassment if the circumstances of Cpl. Tillman's death become public," McChrystal wrote on April 29, 2004, to Gen. John Abizaid, head of Central Command.


Paul Boyce, U.S. Army said...

Army Acting Quickly to Resolve Remaining Concerns in Cpl. Tillman's Death

Army Ranger Cpl. Pat Tillman died a hero April 22, 2004, in Paktika Province, Afghanistan. At great personal risk, he acted immediately to save others by attempting to identify his position when he, another Soldier and an Afghan Military Forces member came under “friendly fire.” “On that tragic day, the Tillman family lost a loved one, a son, a brother, a husband,” Acting Army Secretary Pete Geren reminded the American public March 26 during a nationally televised press conference. On that April day three years ago, “Cpl. Tillman joined the hallowed ranks of the now more than 3,000 men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror,” Geren said. “Our Army grieves the death of every one of those Soldiers and shares the grief of every bereaved family.”

On March 26, the Defense Department Inspector General recommended the Army consider appropriate corrective action with respect to those Army officials identified in the report. Mr. Geren immediately directed Gen. William S. Wallace, commanding general of the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command, to review the DoD IG report and take appropriate action with regard to the Army officers identified. Gen. Wallace, a four-star general officer and combat veteran, has at his disposal a full range of investigative and disciplinary options. An initial progress report should reach the Army leadership later this month.

“We have investigated, taken corrective action and will continue to hold ourselves as an Army accountable not only to the Tillman family, but to every Army family,” Army Vice Chief of Staff Richard Cody said during the same Pentagon press conference.

“We as an Army failed in our duty to the Tillman family, the duty we owe to all families of our fallen Soldiers: give them the truth, the best we know it, as fast as we can," Mr. Geren explained. Timely and accurate family notification is a duty based on core Army values. As an Army, we already have incorporated lessons learned from this tragic event and from other casualties over the past three years. “Our failure in fulfilling this duty brought discredit to the Army and compounded the grief suffered by the Tillman family,” Geren said. “We pledge to do better.”

Very respectfully,
Paul Boyce
U.S. Army, The Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

Scooter said...

Thank you, Mr. Boyce, and thank you for your own service.