Tillman, 27, was a member of the 2nd
Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, based at
Fort Lewis, Wash. The battalion was involved
in Operation Mountain Storm in southeastern
Afghanistan, part of the U.S. campaign
against fighters of the al-Qaida terror
network and the former Taliban government
along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border,
military officials told NBC News.
U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Matthew
Beevers said Saturday that Tillman was
killed Thursday night in a firefight at
about 7 p.m. on a road near Sperah, about 25
miles southwest of a U.S. base at Khost.
After coming under fire, Tillman’s patrol
got out of their vehicles and gave chase,
moving toward the spot of the ambush.
Beevers said the fighting was “sustained”
and lasted 15-20 minutes.
Pat Tillman turned down a $3.6 million
contract in 2002 to join the Army in the
wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Beevers said Tillman was killed by enemy
fire, but he had no information about what
type of weapons were involved in the
assault, or whether he died instantly.