Pat Tillman

Like many, I followed the Pat Tillman story closely, my  interest sharpened by the parallels in our lives: joining the Army at a late age, as a college graduate, eager to experience the most military service could offer. Now, reading Jon Krakauer’s Where Men Win Glory, I learn that Tillman was a devotee of Emerson, Thoreau, Nietzsche—all proponents of a radical individualism I admire in theory, if not so much in practice.

More importantly, I learned that Tillman had been killed in Khowst province, where I was stationed for eight months. Funny how I was never aware of this fact while I was there; certainly I would have been interested in seeing the place where he died and talking to as many locals as might have memories of the event. In fact, Tillman was shot, in a friendly fire incident, near the town of Spera, in one of the most inaccessible and dangerous districts in the province. But last December I travelled to Spera to inspect voter registration operations at the Spera District Center, which brought me, by Krakauer’s account, within two miles of Tillman’s place of death.

Two pictures below from that day:

The wadi road to Spera

The trail to Mana, where Tillman was killed, stretches out between the hill masses in the backgroudn of this pciture

Taken from Spera District Center. The trail to Mana, where Pat Tillman was killed, stretches out between the hill masses in the background of this picture

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