By Mr. Paul Boyce (FORSCOM)March 26, 2007
Army officials announced specific actions March 26 that will be taken in response to the Department of Defense Inspector General's (DoD IG) review of the events following the death of Army Cpl. Patrick Tillman's, on April 22, 2004, in Afghanistan. The DoD IG report includes the detailed report of a battlefield death investigation conducted by U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command.
Acting Secretary of the Army Pete Geren directed Gen. William S. Wallace, the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), to begin an immediate review of actions by officers cited in the DoD IG report. Gen. Wallace is a battlefield veteran of Iraq -- he was commanding general, V Corps, during the first missions into Baghdad -- who, given his status as a four-star Army commander, has available the full range of investigative and disciplinary options. "I have directed General Wallace to examine the actions of each of the individuals named in this report and to take appropriate action," Geren said. "I have asked for an interim progress report from General Wallace within 30 days."
"It is important to the Tillman family, to our Army, and to the American people that we resolve this matter as quickly as possible. Far too much time has passed in getting things right in this case. This delay does a disservice to the Tillman family and to the credibility of our Army."
In making the announcement, Geren also said that the Army had been given advance notice of findings in the DoD IG report concerning the Silver Star medal that was posthumously awarded to Cpl. Tillman, and that in response the Army had already completed a review to ensure that the process associated with the award was appropriate. A Senior Army Decorations Board convened on March 17, completed its review, and made recommendations.
"I have approved the board's recommendation to affirm the award of the Silver Star, but to modify the award citation's wording to more accurately reflect the circumstances on the ground and Corporal Tillman's valorous actions of April 22, 2004."
"Timely and accurate family notifications is a duty based on core Army values," Geren said. The Army did not wait for this report to take actions to improve casualty-notification and posthumous valorous award procedures over the past two years. Unit commanders and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command are required to notify the Army's Casualty and Mortuary Affairs Operations Center of ongoing death investigations, and to provide copies of the investigative reports upon completion, to enable the Center to cross-reference the investigations with the casualty information provided after the Soldier's death aEUR" all with a view to ensuring that the families of the Army's fallen receive the most accurate and current information. Additionally, with respect to posthumous valorous awards, the Army now requires a field-grade officer to review both the initial casualty information and any completed investigations before approving any award. This ensures that the award reflects accurately the actual events and circumstances for which it is being presented.
The U.S. Army last year requested an independent review by the DoD IG following unit and HQDA-level Army Regulation 15-6 investigations and an Army Safety Board investigation. With the completion of the DoD IG investigation, the Army also released, on March 26, a redacted copy of the March 2005 investigation completed by the Commander, U.S. Army Special Forces Command (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C. That report can be found at the Army's online Freedom of Information Act Reading Room at:
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