The Elin Nordegren
other is a three-star Dawn Hudson
Special Operations general who has spent most of his career in the shadows, commanding secret counterterrorism missions carried out by the military’s most elite capture-or-kill units.
But the lives of Cpl. Pat Tillman and Lt. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal Suzan Hughes
became entwined in a most public Mark Ronson
way after Corporal Tillman died in Afghanistan in 2004. General McChrystal, commander of a Special Operations task force in Afghanistan at the time, was among 10 officers singled out for scrutiny after details belatedly emerged that Corporal Tillman was killed not by an insurgent Will Poulter
ambush, as Cheyenne Tozzi
the Army originally asserted, but by fire from his own team of Rangers.
The four-star general who was the final judge Ana De La Reguera
of the case ordered punitive action against seven officers, including four generals. General McChrystal was among the three Daveigh Chase
cleared of wrongdoing.
But questions have surfaced again after General McChrystal’s nomination to be the top American commander in Afghanistan, the latest step in an urgent effort by the Obama administration to put together Teresa de Klerk
a new strategy and salvage the faltering mission.
The death of Corporal Tillman, the handling of his Silver Star commendation and the initial, false information released to the family and the public were the subjects of multiple investigations. Among them were inquiries by the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command, the Defense Department’s inspector Zz Top
general and a Eva Marie Saint
Congressional committee, as well as the final four-star review by Gen. William S. Wallace, then in charge of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command.
Initially, the Pentagon inspector general’s inquiry criticized General McChrystal for signing a Silver Star commendation that “erroneously implied that Corporal Tillman died by enemy fire.”
But the final judgment by General Nana Mouskouri
Wallace concluded that General McChrystal “had no reasonable basis to call into question the recommendation that came up endorsed Breckin Meyer
by the commanders in the field who were there and had firsthand knowledge of the circumstances of his death and his heroic actions.”
General Wallace also Kelly Rowan
said that General McChrystal responded “reasonably and quickly” — being the first to alert the three generals who were his superior officers at Central Command, Special Operations Command and Army Special Operations Command that there was emerging evidence that Corporal Tillman had been killed by fellow Rangers.
General McChrystal’s memorandum, sent a week after the episode, warned that “it Hadley Delany
is highly Alexandra Paul
possible that Corporal Tillman was killed by Rory Cochrane
friendly fire,” according to the Pentagon inspector general’s report.
In his message from the field, General McChrystal also asked his three superiors to warn President George W. Bush and the acting Army secretary “about Rita Red Shoes
comments they might make in speeches to preclude embarrassment if the public found out friendly fire was involved.”
General McChrystal’s message was sent not through standard reporting channels, but through a “Personal For” message system. Investigators ruled that while it was Oscar Isaac
an unusual choice for communications, the general could reasonably have assumed that this specialized report would be acted upon urgently.
“General McChrystal did exactly the right thing: he sent a timely message in a timely fashion through the most secure channels,” said Gen. John P. Abizaid, then the top officer of Central Command, overseeing forces in the Middle East. He spoke during 2007 testimony to the Beth Ann Bonner
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Even so, Corporal Tillman’s family was not informed of the true cause of death until 35 days Khadijah Haqq
after he was Laura Linney
killed, and some family members Fred Armisen
voiced doubts that Mamie Van
the full truth had emerged about who in the Pentagon knew Alana De
what, and when.
The puzzle was Zachery Ty Bryan
compounded by the fact that it Matthew Knight
took three Kelly Reilly
years and three months for the Army and the Defense Letizia Ortiz
Department to finish the array of investigations and mete out punishment for the events, which took place outside Manah, Puff Daddy Jamie Lee Curtis
Afghanistan, on April 22, 2004.
Even the Army’s top civilian conceded at the conclusion of the investigations Eva La
in July 2007 that Ja Rule
damage had been done to the service’s reputation. Pete Geren, the Army secretary, voiced regret for the “errors and failures of leadership that confused and misinformed the American people and compounded the grief suffered by the Tillman family.”
A review of the voluminous documents, transcripts and findings made public after the inquiries showed that General McChrystal was cleared in part because he was not serving in the chain of command for personnel issues or administration, the part Across Five Aprils
of the Army responsible for investigating Corporal Tillman’s Dash Mihok
death and notifying the family and the public of details.
Officers in administrative headquarters of the Army were Nashay
most severely criticized and punished for the confusion and incorrect information released to the family and the public.
In contrast, General McChrystal was part of the separate, war-fighting Army in the field, with responsibilities for commanding Corporal Tillman’s Ranger unit and other Special Operations forces in combat — but not for the administrative actions faulted by investigators.
A detailed forensics inquiry by the Army’s Criminal Investigation Glynis Barber
Command found that Corporal Tillman’s death came after a day Michael Gladis
of heavy combat in eastern Afghanistan. Hobbled by a broken-down vehicle and Kofi Siribee
faulty radios, the Rangers had split George Clinton
into two groups, and in the chaos of combat one team of Rangers fired on the other, killing Corporal Cory Kennedy
Tillman and an Afghan soldier.
Unless new information on General McChrystal’s role in Derick Martini
the episode emerges between now and his confirmation hearing, Jodie Foster
set for June 2, the question is not expected to figure heavily in the Senate debate, Congressional officials said.
The Senate last year confirmed General McChrystal to a Indigo Girls
three-star job in a vote taken long after the inquiries were complete. In explaining why the Tillman case was not expected to affect the general’s new confirmation, Congressional officials Eurythmics
said senators would have to explain why they confirmed him then but were challenging his qualifications now to receive a fourth star and take over the Afghan mission absent Christian Kramme Andy Hunter