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Pat Tillman’s Legacy of Honor

April 24, 2018

April 22 was the 14th anniversary of the friendly fire killing of Cpl Pat Tillman, a football hero and man of honor who gave up millions in potential earnings to serve his country. I watched the documentary movie “The Tillman Story” as I do every year on the anniversary of his death. The movie uses actual footage from that time and interviews with key people involved. It documents Tillman’s death and the beginning of a massive cover-up regarding the real reason for his death. The cover-up involved several of our most senior military officers.

The reason I suggest that we reflect on this incident is because I believe that senior members of the military should be role models for the rest of our nation and I am concerned that our military training is failing at this. There have been no obvious changes with respect to honor training since the Tillman incident. Frankly, changes that have occurred are in the wrong direction. For example, there is clear evidence from USAF Col (ret) Fred Malmstrom’s research of declining standards of honor at our military academies, the institutions charged with producing the most professional officers. Therefore, there is no reason to expect, if an incident like the Tillman killing were to occur today, that our senior military leaders would do anything differently than they did in the cover-up following Tillman’s death.

Our military training programs, especially officer training, need some analysis.

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