Washington, DC (APE) – Following three controversial investigations into the death of Corporal Patrick Tillman, the Army today announced that it has successfully launched a probe after criticisms from both the family of Tillman and the Department of Defense Inspector General. Corporal Tillman’s death rose to national prominence after he walked away from a $3.6 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals NFL team in order to serve his country in war on terror. He qualified as an Army Ranger, and served in that capacity in a tour of Iraq and Afghanistan. He was apparently a frequent and vocal critic of the Bush administration’s choice to invade Iraq rather than pursue Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Controversy erupted over his death as it was revealed that the army allowed and perhaps promoted the idea that he had died in action against the Taliban when in reality he was killed by friendly fire under somewhat suspicious circumstances. Pleas from Tillman’s family for justice resulted in the three previous investigations and the final launch of this probe.
The Army this morning revealed that the probe, announced yesterday, was launched in secrecy and with complete success in the early-morning hours. All materials and evidence in regards to Corporal Tillman were cremated and placed upon a Sea Launch vehicle especially contracted for this purpose. This reportedly included all papers and documentation, as well as the cremated remains of Tillman, his uniform and body armor.
An Army spokesperson explained: “Normally we would utilize one of our own launch vehicles, but in the interests of speed and efficiency we contracted with Sea Launch, and were successfully able to bump a communications satellite scheduled for liftoff. It is both exciting and inspiring to know that Corporal Tillman has been given yet another chance to serve his country honorably, even after his death. He will be involved in a one-year trip and scientific investigation of the sun.”
The Army spokesperson stated that it was hoped that this would put a needed rest to the controversy surrounding Patrick Tillman’s death and finally put his family at ease. “The Army deeply regrets the loss of Corporal Tillman’s life and the lives of all soldiers in this war.”
Tillman family members protested the expected outcome of the probe. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld replied in response, “A military commitment today is not what it used to be… especially in this new type of war in which we find ourselves. We applaud the selfless patriotism of those men and women in uniform who have returned for three and four tours throughout Iraq and Afghanistan. We simply cannot afford many luxuries in America’s leaner, more efficient armed forces, with the stop loss policies we have had to initiate. Even in death, some may now have to be called up to honor their country with their service.”
The Tillman probe becomes the latest high-tech addition to a long series of Army probes which include the Mai Lai massacre during the Vietnam War and more recently the Jessica Lynch rescue mission during the current Iraq conflict.