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Pat Tillman's Row Was as Tough to Hoe as Any Ranger's

06.02.2006 11:38 | DISPATCHES

In my May 29 Dispatch, "What if Pat Tillman's Death Wasn't Friendly Fire?" I wrote that some of his fellow Army Rangers were of the opinion that:

". . . in its rush to make him a poster boy for the administration's ill-conceived Iraq adventure, the Army had fast-tracked him through the Ironman-intensity training program all other Rangers have to endure."

Further research reveals that, if anything, Tillman was subjected to even harsher training than the average Ranger recruit. Even though, by all accounts, he just wanted to be one of the guys and fit in, the military still felt compelled to make sure that no vestige of pride in his success as a pro football player remain.

As with almost every facet of the Tillman case, however, this begs another question. What gave birth to the rumor that Tillman was allowed to skate through Ranger training? In the current climate, one can't help but wonder if it was a form of "PsyOps" directed at a member of our own armed forces instead of a perceived enemy (kind of like friendly fire itself).

In Ranger training there are lulls between intensive field exercises during which recruits have time to shoot the breeze (not to mention drink and brawl). Despite how early it was in Tillman's Ranger career, some of his peers might have heard him ask questions during downtime and were threatened, not by his stardom, but by the independence of his mind.

Whether they reported it and then received encouragement from higher pay grades, or on their own initiative, they may have then attempted to seed the regiment with disinformation and turn it against one of its finest.


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