Mary Tillman, whose son Pat Tillman was infamously killed by friendly fire in 2004, says McChrystal's appointment as a co-chairman of first lady Michelle Obama's "Joining Forces" campaign is an embarrassment to president Barack Obama and a slap in the face to military families. Tillman said the former general, who was relieved of command in Afghanistan last year, played a direct role in the military's attempt to recast Pat Tillman's death as the result of enemy fire and use the story for political reasons.
Pat Tillman, who first became a household name when he left a career in professional football to become an Army Ranger after the Sept. 11 attacks, was killed in Afghanistan in April 2004. According to ABC, McChrystal, who was commander of special operations in Afghanistan at the time, wrote a memo advising his superiors that Tillman was likely killed by friendly fire, something McChrystal said he wanted his superiors to know in order to "preclude any ... public embarrassment if the circumstances of Corporal Tillman's death become public." McChrystal could not be reached for comment.
In the years after Tillman was killed, his family has accused the military of lying to the public about the circumstances of his death for propaganda purposes. "I've come to learn through this journey that there are many other families that have been lied to by the military about their sons and daughters," Mary Tillman told ABC. She could not be reached for comment by AOL News. "And so we feel that what happen to Pat ... pertains to other people, not just us. I think it's a slap in the face to all soldiers to appoint this man, to be on this committee."
The White House did not immediately return a request for comment but said in a news conference this week that "the president feels strongly that General McChrystal is the right person to help lead this advisory committee on this vital issue."