Who is only NFL player to die in America’s War on Terror?
Compelled to join the military in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City on Sept. 11, 2011, former Arizona Cardinals defensive back Pat Tillman left the NFL and joined the U.S. Army in July 2002.
July 20 is the anniversary of his death in 2004.
Assigned to the second battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment, Tillman’s first tour was in 2003 in Iraq. In 2004, he was stationed in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. On April 22, 2004, Tillman’s unit was ambushed in Afghan canyon country and in the battle that ensued he was unfortunately killed by friendly fire.
Tillman was the first NFL player to die in military action since former Buffalo Bills guard Bob Kalsu died on July 20, 1970. Kalsu’s wife, Jan, was informed of her husband’s death just hours after she gave birth to their first son, James.
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