"Here is the
[steak] dinner but we're giving it to you on a, you know, garbage can
cover. You know, you got it, you work it." -- General Howard Yellen
also angry that the Army hasn't provided Marie with Pat's
autopsy report. At lunchtime I call Senator John McCain.... I ask him if we are being unrealistic to expect Pat's
after five months. He tells me we should have it by now and indicates he
will make sure it's sent to us....
The next day
... I see an envelope from Fed Ex. The envelope
was sent from Rockville, Maryland; it's Pat's autopsy report.....
I place a call to Commander
Craig Mallak, Armed Forces medical examiner at Rockville,
Maryland. Commander Mallak explains that he didn't perform Pat's
autopsy; a Dr. James Caruso did. He says Dr. Caruso is currently in
but he tells me he is quite familiar with Pat's case. I ask Dr.
Pat would measure two inches taller when he was missing so much of his
head. He tells me that the measurements aren't very exact. He says he
may have been measured with his toes pointed.....I tell him Pat's
band was platinum, yet the report says the ring was gold. Mallak tells
me the ring was described from a photograph and that the lighting in the
room made the ring appear gold....[I asked] why aren't
descriptions written down while looking at the body? It
makes no sense to describe details from a photograph...[Mallak said] Yes, ma'am....I
ask him why none of Pat's distinguishing features were documented.... [Mallak
said] they don't do internal examinations...[I asked] why would Pat
have been defibrillated? ...[Mallak said] we normally don't fault someone
for trying to save someone's life.... [I asked] why is
Pat's autopsy dated July 22, nearly three months
after the autopsy was performed?... [Mallak said] Ma'am, Dr. Caruso
and I didn't believe the information we read on
the casualty report. Enemy rounds don't cause the type of wounds your
son had. Dr. Caruso refused to sign the autopsy report....
information I just learned from Dr. Mallak makes me more fearful and
suspicious that Pat may have been killed intentionally. I say very
about my suspicions to anyone other than my closest friends and family
because I know people won't understand ... conspiracy theories.
that was an unofficial visit, why was he wearing his
uniform? I think it's strange."
"I'll tell you something more strange," Richard says,
lifting his face as he blows cigarette smoke out the corner
of his mouth. "After listening to this bullshit at Dad's, I
said to [Col Jeffrey] Bailey on the way here, 'I don't care
what anyone says, I think my brother was fucking
Kevin looks at Richard and asks apprehensively, "What did he
eyes shift back and forth, ready to weigh each other's
reactions. "He said, 'You may be right.'''
Mike tells me he has read a book called Bush on the Couch,
by Dr. Justin A. Frank. He tells me Dr. Frank is a
psychiatrist who lives and works in Georgetown. He has done
a lot of research on the president and has observed him from
afar. The book states that Bush doesn't admire or respect
the soldiers; on the contrary, he resents them. They are
true warriors; Bush can only pretend. Mike brings the book
to my house, and I read all night. In the morning before
leaving for work, I call information and get Dr. Frank's
number at George Washington University Medical School. I
leave a message telling him my name and that my son was
killed in Afghanistan in April. I let him know I want to
speak to him and that I will be home by four p.m. Pacific
time, then I leave my number. When I return home from work,
I have a message from Dr. Frank. He tells me he knows who I
am, and he will stay in his office until I return home to
call him. Immediately, I dial the number, and he answers
right away. I waste no time getting to the point.
"Hello, Dr. Frank. I'm Mary Tillman. I don't want to waste
your time. I'm calling to ask you a question. Do you think
it's possible that this administration orchestrated my son's
to say, yes."
positively stunned by his response. I thought he would
gently tell me that he doesn't believe the administration is
very honorable, but it would never do something so heinous
as to have a soldier killed. "You believe they killed him?"
I ask numbly.
think it's possible. Mrs. Tillman, I'm a psychiatrist. It
would be unethical and irresponsible for me to tell a
grieving mother to pursue such a thing if I didn't think it
[Private Bryan O'Neal] Not long after did a friendly cargo/GMV
come down the road toward our direction. When they made eye
contact with us, they opened fire with small arms. They
rolled through very quickly. After they came, a GMV with a
.50-cal rolled into our sight and started to unload on top
of us. They would work in bursts, .50-cal for 10-15 seconds,
240B 10-15 seconds (back and forth) for a few minutes. SPC
Tillman and I were yelling stop ... stop ... friendlies ...
friendlies ... cease fire!" But they couldn't hear us.
Tillman came up with the idea to let a smoke grenade go.
This stopped the friendly contact for a few moments and
that's when I realized that the AMF soldier was dead. At
this time, the GMV rolled into a better position to fire on
us. We thought the battle was over so we were relieved,
getting up stretching out and talking with one another when
I heard some 5.56 rounds coming from the GMV. They
started firing again. After only a few 5.56 rounds the .50
cal started fire again. That's when I hit the deck and
started praying. SPC Tillman at this time was hit with some
small arms fire. I know this because I could hear the pain
in his voice as he called out "cease fire, friendlies, I am
Pat fucking Tillman damn it." He said this over and over
until he stopped. Not long after the firing stopped the GMV
moved out. I was lying next to the original rock I used for
cover when I heard what sounded like water pouring down ...
I then looked over at my side to see a river of blood coming
down [from] where he was. I had blood all over my shoulder
from him and when I looked at him, I saw his head was gone.
SCOTT: I saw this original in
the three-ring binder when I came back from Afghanistan. And
now apparently we can't find it. And so this is the only one
that's out there, unless you have a copy.... Again sir, a
copy of my recommendations [was] submitted along with my
report. But ...
Sir, my original recommendation or report that I submitted
to regiment headquarters, one of my recommendations that is
not on [this] draft was [that] I recommended that certain
leaders be investigated if this investigation continued
because I felt that there was some stuff negligent on their
part ... I don't know if it was appropriate to do that
because some of the persons that I interviewed were of the
same rank and of higher rank than I. But that's what I
submitted to -- that's what I wrote on my final report was
that these persons or persons that I listed, certain persons
be investigated because of what I thought was some gross
JONES: Do you
remember specifically who that was?
SCOTT: Staff Sergeant Baker was one of the individuals.
JONES: And you said people of equal or higher rank to you?
SCOTT: I interviewed [CFT commander] at the time, sir, and then Captain [William] Saunders. I also interviewed the ... Executive Officer at the time.
JONES: That was Captain [Kirby] Dennis?
SCOTT: Yes, sir.
LT. COL. MICHAEL HARGIS: Can we take a break here, sir?
JONES: [To Scott] We're going to take about a two-minute break here. Could you step out for a minute?
SCOTT: Yes, sir.
JONES: I want
to remind you that you're still under oath. One question I have is, Captain, is that you stated that, in your
investigation, you are of the opinion that there were others that were potentially negligent. And you said Staff Sergeant Baker, you thought, in your opinion, demonstrated gross negligence. Is that accurate?
SCOTT: Yes, sir.
JONES: Were there others that demonstrated gross negligence?
SCOTT: Yes, sir, I believe the .50-cal gunner and the 240- gunner.
JONES: And their names?
SCOTT: ... The .50-cal gunner was Specialist [Stephen] Ashpole and then the 240-gunner was Specialist Stephen Elliott.
JONES: Okay. You also said, though, you listed three other names, CFT commander Saunders, and Dennis. What specifically was the reference to those three?
SCOTT: That they were part of the interview process. So the sworn statements that I received from them were submitted with my original packet to the Regiment Headquarters.
JONES: Okay. But you had mentioned them right after you talked about Staff Sergeant Baker and negligence.
SCOTT: No. Okay, sir. That must have been my fault because they shouldn't be connected to the negligence. I think I was just referring to the fact that in my investigation, I had to interview those that are the same rank or higher in rank than I. I think that's what I was trying to portray.
SCOTT: I just -- this whole process -- and I was going
through the interview process, it was really -- I think it's
pretty easy to say that -- probably the most difficult
things, in fact, the most difficult things that I had to do
since I've been in the Army. The other difficult thing,
though, was watching some of these guys getting off ... with
what I thought was a lesser of a punishment than what they
should've received. And I will tell you, over a period of
time, you know, sir, you're like the third, fourth
investigating officer to come in, [and] without the sworn
statements, the stories have changed. They have changed to,
I think, help some individuals.
And I'm going to give you an example and I'm hoping this
doesn't -- this recording doesn't leave this room. But I was
called in to the battalion commander's office. And the
reason I'm saying this is because I disagree how this
happened. But, during Staff Sergeant Baker's field grades
meeting and they had the entire chain of command [inaudible]
... that were involved, the NCO, the company commander,
first sergeant, all sticking up for Baker.
And the reason the battalion commander [Colonel Jeffrey
Bailey] called me in was because the NCOs, [it] so happened,
changed their story in how things occurred and the timing
and the distance; in an attempt to stick up for their
counterpart, [they] implied, insinuated that the report
wasn't as accurate as I submitted it up the chain of
And so instead of, really, an individual punishing or giving
out the punishment to Staff Sergeant Baker, I was the one in
there saying, "No, this is accurate. They signed
[interviews], sir, that were given to me." And that Staff
Sergeant Baker did indeed show some gross negligence. So I
kind of was the bad guy in front of the entire chain of
command, sticking to the report, sticking to the conclusion.
And that probably should've been handled much differently
than that, I think. I don't know if it was an attempt to put
me in as a bad guy ... The bottom line is, Staff Sergeant
Baker was not chaptered out of the Army. I thought at a
minimum that's what he should've received, but he did not.
He received a field grade. Individuals Elliott [and] Ashpole
were [inaudible] given company grades and now are serving in
a different unit.
And ... you asked me if there's anything else. I guess
that's really my frustration, is that I had to go through
this, come up with a conclusion and then part of my
recommendation was saying we need to look at these guys.
Here are some individuals that could potentially, and have,
demonstrated lack of control but more importantly the gross
negligence ... And then at the end I thought the
investigation was complete. That they didn't get their due
just punishment, and that they were just released; I guess
that's why I was frustrated in how that all unfolded.
JONES: Let's go ahead and take a pause here, if you
could, and just step out for a minute.
SCOTT: Yes, sir.
Within days of the
hearing, I receive a copy of an interview the IG agents
had with Commander Mallak and the medical examiner. A reporter who
got it through the Freedom of Information Act sent it to me. It angers
that the interview was not given to us with the rest of the interviews.
interview is particularly revealing and upsetting. Commander Mallak
the IG agent that within a day or two after Pat's autopsy, he and Dr.
had concerns. Dr. Carruso contacted Human Resource Command.
Okay. What were those concerns?
MALLAK: That the gunshot wounds to the forehead were
atypical in nature and that the initial story that we received
didn't, the medical evidence did not match up with the, with the
scenario as described.
IG AGENT: And did he express those concerns just verbally or
was it in writing or how?
MALLAK: It was just verbally at first. In fact, we were in this
office and we called HRC from here and expressed our concerns.
IG AGENT: And HRC is?
MALLAK: Human Resources Command.
IG AGENT: And where is that?
MALLAK: Down at the Hoffman Building.
IG AGENT: And that's the United States Army?
IG AGENT: Okay, and who did you talk to, do you recall?
MALLAK: [The name is redacted, but we know from reading
some unredacted documents that Dr. Carruso and Commander
Mallak spoke to Brigadier General Gina Farrisee, the adjutant
General], and there were a couple of other folks that she brought
into the conversation.
IG AGENT: And that was a day of so after the autopsy was
MALLAK: Within a few days, I can't remember the exact date.
IG AGENT: Okay, what was their response?
MALLAK: They said they didn't think that our concerns were
warranted at that time, that, that they had the story, that it made
sense to them and they were going to proceed.
testimony, he makes it clear that he was a hundred percent
certain Pat was killed by fratricide. He says his battalion
commander, Colonel Bailey, told him not to tell Kevin his
brother was killed by friendly fire. He also says Colonel
Bailey had him sit at a computer to write a statement about
what happened the evening Pat was killed. He tells the
committee the statement was changed without his consent and
used to support Pat's Silver Star. The inspector general's
investigation uncovered that Staff Sergeant Matt Weeks's
statement was also altered, and neither statement from Weeks
or O'Neal was signed.
testifies that he is haunted by the fact that he was the
person who read the false narrative of Pat's death to the
family and the public. "My role as far as at the memorial --
it's a horrible thing that happened with Pat. I'm the guy
that told America how he died basically, at that memorial,
and it was incorrect. That does not sit well with me." It is
repugnant that the government would set up Pat's good
friend, an honorable and decorated officer, a Navy SEAL, to
deceive the American public. He said he was the given the
fraudulent accounting over the phone by someone he thinks
was under Kensinger's command.
are outraged that the inspector general did not follow
through to find out who falsified the documents. The
investigators found evidence of a cover-up but made no
attempt to find out who was responsible.
It seems no one, no
matter how determined, can penetrate the lies and deceptions
that surround the Bush administration and its institutions.
Every one of you
have disregarded your duty, acting deliberately and
shamelessly to kill my son and lie about it.... In sum, fuck
you and yours.