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Mary Tillman on ‘Today’: ‘Pat’s Death Was a Lie to the Country’

Posted on May 6, 2008
Mary Tillman

Mary Tillman made a sharp and moving appearance Tuesday morning on the “Today” show to talk about her new book, “Boots on the Ground by Dusk: My Tribute to Pat Tillman,” about the friendly-fire death of her son, Pat, and the U.S. military’s subsequent cover-up in 2004.

In an interview by Meredith Viera, Tillman called Pat’s killing “an act of gross negligence,” taking aim at the Pentagon’s top brass when she said “someone started this deception, and it didn’t start at the three-star level.”

Watch the clip:

Follow this link to buy the book at


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By david w., March 4, 2010 at 1:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I you want to get away with murder do it in LINCOLN COUNTY NEW MEXICO the cops here wont even take prints of the gun and may even help you to be a witness instead of a suspect. i know first hand my son was killed and robbed and the cops did not even take prints of the gun and the cops know the people involved are lieing and still do nothing but close the case.

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By Douglas Chalmers, May 10, 2008 at 3:31 am Link to this comment

Absolutely disgusting that Truthdig just opened a new Tillman topic and then pulled it off their front page in less that 24 hours, uhh

Somebody in the military didn’t appreciate my comments about Mary Tillman and the true significance of MOTHERS DAY?!?!?!

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By Douglas Chalmers, May 9, 2008 at 10:09 pm Link to this comment

Go read the latest T’Dig topic at and STFU yerself, gal. You legalists ARE the problem…....

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By cyrena, May 9, 2008 at 9:55 pm Link to this comment

Not a chance of me doing that chalmers, so better that you just take your meds.

Claiming that a lack of investigation somehow ‘infers’ that other soldiers are guilty isn’t a matter of experience needed on any given subject. It’s common sense, which you don’t have, because of your mental defects. The fact that there wasn’t an investigation certainly implies a COVER UP, like everything that’s been happening in the US since The Coup. But, YOU wouldn’t KNOW THAT, BECAUSE YOU DON’T LIVE HERE, AND THEREBY ARE UNAFFECTED by what we in the USA are dealing with!

That said, while this lack of investigation DOES ‘infer’ YET ANOTHER COVER-UP, it DOES NOT ‘INFER’ (as you are claiming) that OTHER SOLDIERS PRESENT ARE SOMEHOW GUILTY!

Meantime, how is a subject posted on a public forum, about a fallen soldier from MY country, and his family, and his commrades, (also representing MY country) any LESS MY BUSINESS than YOURS? You don’t live here, you don’t vote here, you don’t pay taxes here, and you’re just an exile living thousands and thousands away in Australia.

Tell us again how this is none of MY business, and somehow YOURS!

So, why don’t YOU just STFU Chalmers!

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By pitleaper, May 9, 2008 at 9:13 pm Link to this comment

Douglas: Yep.  You got it.  5.56 vs 7.62 and the exit wound.

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By Douglas Chalmers, May 9, 2008 at 9:02 pm Link to this comment

Thanks for your informative response, pitleaper. I don’t want to grind over all of it as to the pros and cons except to say that it could still be either. Mrs. Tillman has obviously not wanted to continue to upset her sons’ friends and comrades in the army, though.

All the more reason for a full and impartial inquiry and not leaving it up to the military to continue to play games with or to inevitably sweep under the rug, uhh.

But the “wound pattern” in this instance infers the diameter and consequent effects of the different calibre of an M16 as opposed to an AK47 which is similar to the old NATO rifles (SLR 7.62mm) - the same calibre as the .308 Winchester hunting rifle.

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By pitleaper, May 9, 2008 at 7:56 pm Link to this comment

Mrs. Tillman’s book related how the wound pattern was not representative of an AK-47, but that of an M-16. This was the primary (or at least one of the reasons) for the coroner’s refusal to sign the death certificate as written.  She further stated that there were three entry wounds of the forehead close together.  These facts along with a comment by Kevin Tillman’s CO that he could have been “murdered” lead me, at first blush, to suspect that he was murdered due to jealousy or whatever.

However, Mrs. Tillman has stated that she no longer believes that he was murdered.  She didn’t elaborate. 

I agree with her. Here’s why. Tillman’s unit was headed into a combat mission through a narrow, ambush prone canyon.  Nerves had to be taut and tension high; especially for newbies ‘in country’ as some of them were.  However, in a combat sitution, everyone is needed.  No-one wants to take out a man who is fighting for their side. That man could be the one ultimately to save the lives of many or all the Rangers.  I think he was killed by nervous, scared, trigger happy troops by accident.

No, if you’re going to kill someone in the military do it after the action back in the camp.  Though I don’t have first hand experience in a fragging incident, it seems to me most that happened in Vietnam were done by rolling a fragmentation grenade under the victim’s bunk. (Hence the term ‘fragging’).

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By DennisD, May 8, 2008 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As far as the obvious cover up. Once again I look to the “Dark One”. This is a Darth Cheney MO if ever there was one.

It’s amazing how no investigation ever makes it into his bunker. But then again he uses the Constitution as toilet paper.

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By Douglas Chalmers, May 8, 2008 at 2:05 pm Link to this comment

That’s an interesting point,  skylights, but I would put it down to plain jealousy.  They’re not all a bunch of great guys in the military.

Disappointing that the many who commented on the first Pat Tillman topic on Truthdig haven’t bothered to engage here again. Perhaps having their illusions shattered was difficult for those veterans…....

No, they can’t get away with calling it “friendly fire”. Some of us know the thrill that they get and some other less pleasant things as well about their personality disorders, uhh.

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By samosamo, May 7, 2008 at 5:30 pm Link to this comment

This is a very sad part of this stupid and insane war. If we had an administration that was responsible, we would have never gone into Iraq much less shot up a bunch of our soldiers and other allie’s soldiers. In my eys this makes w & dick and rummy all guilty of murder.
Another thing, about the video & nbc is their use of glitter, moving graphics and over blown backgrounds for this presentation and I am real sure, in all their presentations. Hard to believe that an older established broadcast network would start using tricks and mirrors of a low down bunch of rot like fox news but it is true. How does one concentrate on what is being shoved down their throat? A MAJOR reason I don’t have tv hookup from antenna, cable or dish. All msm makes me sick to watch. And then there are the commercials. How do people stand to watch that?

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By Douglas Chalmers, May 7, 2008 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment

Yes, ‘Friendly fire’ is another one of those issues like “iatrogenic illnesses and deaths” which persist but which people would rather not know about. The fact that the establishment still vehemently denies all strange/unusual reasons for soldiers’ deaths also points to complicity in more ways than one, though, pitleaper.

When Mrs. Tillman mentioned a wound pattern not like an AK47’s, I wonder if she had information on the autopsy and whether what was said was accurate and who actually said it? That is why there should be a full investigation.

Mrs. Tillman is obviously an intelligent woman but it is naive at this stage to assume that it could only have been either “friendly fire” or fire from the enemy that killed her son. After all, a single bullet wound is not “a wound pattern”.....

Women want their men to be brave but what kind of a world are we living in, really? What comes out of the body of a woman, having been given life, should not be so easliy expendable, to put it bluntly. The shameful Machiavellian imperatives of militarily adventurous governments are a threat to all.

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By skylights, May 7, 2008 at 1:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is much evidence that this was an assassination. You can find this easily on Google. Why might people want him dead? He was the most high-profile soldier, a symbol used by the government. But he opposed the Iraq war and the govt. might have feared that if he spoke out against it, it would undermine public support for it. Therefore, he must be taken out.

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By Douglas Chalmers, May 6, 2008 at 10:47 pm Link to this comment

Why don’t you just admit that it is absolutely NONE of your business, cyrena, and that other people might be more experienced and more qualified to comment than you on a range of issues including this one? In other words, shut up!!!

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By G.Anderson, May 6, 2008 at 9:34 pm Link to this comment

The death of Mr. Tilman is a very sad event. Mr. Tilman was a very courageous man, and I am sorry for his morthers loss. Unfortunately there is nothing that our country can say or do to make up for what happend except honor the truth of what happened.

My own personnal belief is that what happened was the result of what happens when our military is poorly led, and that Mr. Tilmans death resulted from the panic and fear of his fellow servicemen who were over their heads in combat, trying to stay alive and shooting anything in sight.

It shouldn’t have happened that way. I doubt if there will be a full investigation, because it would be too embarassing for Mr. Tilmans superiors.

Despite all the PR and supposed training of our military, when it happend it came down to some scared kids trying to stay alive on the battle field. Who did not have what or who they needed when they needed it.

Our service men and women deserve much better than to be wasted like this, and for what?

In the days and years ahead, hopefully there will be time to learn from our mistakes in an open and forthcomeing manner, rather than trying to blame someone for what went wrong.

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By cyrena, May 6, 2008 at 7:28 pm Link to this comment

“Leaving his death not properly investigated infers that all of the soldiers present are somehow guilty.”

It ‘infers’ no such thing.

It means what Mary Tillman has said that it is…A LIE TO THE COUNTRY, perpetrated from the very highest levels.

If it wasn’t properly investigated, (and of course that’s the point) it damn sure isn’t up to YOU to start creating your own destructive ‘inferences’.

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By Douglas Chalmers, May 6, 2008 at 5:19 pm Link to this comment

Uhh, yes, but I still think that this was not simply a “an act of gross negligence” and that there could have been a murder out of jealousy even though it could have appeared accidental.

Of course, it is impossible to prove without a thorough investigation of the soldiers involved….... and perhaps that is the real reason why the generals were so desperate to cover it up. That si, they already know…....

Leaving his death not properly investigated infers that all of the soldiers present are somehow guilty. That is also unfair. But no doubt if there eventually is a hearing, the brass will use every form of legalism to whitewash things and make it alll go away.

Sorry, Mrs. Tillman….....

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By pitleaper, May 6, 2008 at 4:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I read the book “Boots on the Ground by Dusk” over the weekend, and I couldn’t put it down.  My experience as a Marine Officer during the Vietnam conflict and later as a parent and grand-parent enabled me to see this tragic story from the military angle as well from the perspective of a parent.

‘Friendly fire’ or fratricide is all too common in war.  No-one likes to even think about it, but it happens frequently.  What should never happen at all is misrepresnting and lying about the facts to the family and to the public. That is despicable and morally repugnant.  Just a hunch, but the decision to cover up the facts was made at the Rumsfeld level or higher.  That cover up was just too political to come from the military.  For shame!  It makes everyone involved with the military look bad.

Mrs. Tillman, if you’re reading this, please accept my heartfelt thanks for bringing your book to the American public. Your son’s passing was a tragedy and should never have happened. That, in no way, diminishes his service and his sacrifice.


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