Pat Tillman will receive the Silver Star and a posthumous promotion. The announcement included more specific details of his final actions:
In announcing the Silver Star award, the Army Special Operations Command provided the most specific description of what happened to Tillman on April 22.
His platoon was split into two sections for what officials called a ground assault convoy. Tillman was leader of the lead group. The trailing group received mortar and small arms fire, and because of the cavernous terrain the group had no room to maneuver out of the “kill zone.”
Tillman’s group was already safely out of the area, but when the trailing group came under fire he ordered his men to get out of their vehicles and move up a hill toward the enemy.
As Tillman crested the hill he returned fire with his M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, a lightweight machine gun.
“Through the firing Tillman’s voice was heard issuing fire commands to take the fight to the enemy on the dominating high ground,” the award announcement said. “Only after his team engaged the well-armed enemy did it appear their fires diminished.
“As a result of his leadership and his team’s efforts, the platoon trail section was able to maneuver through the ambush to positions of safety without a single casualty,” the announcement said.
The announcement gave no other details of how Tillman was killed.
I’ve heard a lot of things like “Where do we find such men?” and “I wish there were more like him.” To be honest, I think we find men like Pat Tillman all over, and I think there are many thousands just like him. He gets the headlines because he’s someone we knew, at least as football fans, and he obviously gave up a lot of money to join the military. But I suspect that there are a lot more people like him than most Americans think.