We landed at one of the Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) yesterday to drop off supplies and pick up some equipment, a somewhat routine mission for us. The crew suddenly became very solemn when we noticed a ceremony being conducted about 30-meters away. A KIA ceremony.
The flag draped coffin was placed in the position of honor in front of a formation of Soldiers while a chaplain said a few words. We were all humbled and reminded of our own immortality and that everyday out here, we are in harm’s way.
As taps played we rendered our salute to the fallen Soldier, hero, who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. News of the firefight resulting in one dead and two wounded a couple of days ago had reached us. We had no idea it was Pat Tillman. Tillman turned down a big fat NFL contract with the Arizona Cardinals to become an Army Ranger shortly after 9/11.
Sgt Tillman is a hero not because he walked away from the Cardinals, but because of where he walked to. He like all the rest of the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, and Coastguardsmen volunteered to put himself between the bad guys and our way of life and fight for its preservation. Rest In Peace Sgt Tillman, your service to our nation is an inspiration and you will not be forgotten.
RIP, Pat Tillman. You’ll be in my thoughts tonight.