Every once in a while, there is a story of an American Hero. It tends to begin with a simple life of mild struggle, moderate affluence, a rise to prominence, and a career in the military.
They also have a specific unavoidable look to them, these heroes. When people think of an Army Hero, they see a wide square-cut jaw, a road figure, determined eyes, and a stature worth making statues of.
These poster child successes don’t come around very often, and unfortunately, they don’t tend to live long either.
Pat Tillman was one such tragic hero. His life was cut short in the Iraq War, a war he served in despite being critical and even objectionable, but he did not allow his beliefs to compromise his duty.
He was a model for the Army Rangers he served with and an exemplary citizen before then. Calling him an “American Hero” may be a stretch for some, but there’s no doubt that he looked perfect for the part.
10 Born And Raised
Pat was the oldest of three brothers, Kevin and Richard. He was very close with his family and friends and a very social guy.
Growing up in Fremont, California, he spent most of his youth sports, the first baseball, then turned his focus entirely on football.
He played it from his sophomore year to the end of high school and managed to go to Arizona State University with a football scholarship.
9 College Ball
Pat was a Linebacker. Despite his shorter (5’11) stature, his muscular figure made him an excellent blocker and defensive rusher.
He started playing for ASU in 1994 when he enrolled. He got the last scholarship slot for the team. In 1997 he led his team to the Rose Bowl, the College-level Super Bowl, and was voted the MVP of the state’s team.
He was also an excellent student with a 3.85 GPA in marketing. He is in the College Football Hall of Fame.