The Service Connect honors the living memory of the great American patriot Patrick Daniel Tillman (November 6, 1976 – April 22, 2004).
Patrick Tillman was a superstar American professional football player in the National Football League (NFL) — who felt so selflessly compelled to serve his nation in the wake of the 9/11 Terror Attacks on America — that he heroically left his multi-million dollar sports career behind at the top of his profession and enlisted in the United States Army in June 2002, less than nine months after the September 11 attacks.
Patrick Tillman’s honorable and dutiful exhibition of valiant service in both Iraq and Afghanistan, culminating in his unfortunate and untimely death, became the subject of national attention when it was revealed that Tillman was killed by friendly fire.
Patrick Tillman enlisted in the U.S. Army and joined the elite U.S. Army Rangers — where he served with distinction while playing a key role on several tours in combat before he was killed in the mountains of Spera in the Khost Province of Afghanistan.
Initially the U.S. Army erroneously reported that Tillman had been killed by enemy fire. However, controversy quickly ensued when a month later, on May 28, 2004, the United States Department of Defense notified Patrick Tillman’s family that he had actually been killed in a friendly fire incident. Patrick Tillman’s family as well as other critics allege that the United States Department of Defense purposely delayed the disclosing the pertinent details of the incident of Tillman’s battlefield death for weeks after Tillman’s memorial service out of a desire to protect the image of the U.S. military.
Patrick Tillman was the first professional football player to be killed in combat since Bob Kalsu, who was killed during combat action in the Vietnam War in 1970.
Patrick Tillman was posthumously promoted from the rank Specialist / E-4 to Corporal.
Patrick Tillman was also posthumously awarded the Silver Star medal, as well as the Purple Heart medal.