- - Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Last weekend marked the 14th anniversary of the friendly fire killing of Cpl. Pat Tillman, a football hero and man of honor who gave up millions of dollars in potential earnings to serve his country.

Every year on the anniversary of his death I watch the documentary “The Tillman Story.” The movie uses footage from that time and interviews with the key people involved. It documents Tillman’s death and the beginning of a massive cover-up regarding the real reason for it. The cover-up involved several of our most senior military officers.

I suggest that we reflect on the Tillman tragedy because I believe 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 in this regard. There have been no obvious changes with respect to honor training since the Tillman accident.

Frankly, changes that have occurred are in the wrong direction. For example, there is clear evidence of this from retired U.S. Air Force Col. 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 that if another accidental death like Tillman’s were to occur today 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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