What happened to Pat Tillman’s jersey? Here’s how the last Americans at Bagram Airfield rushed to secure mementos.
Stars and Stripes July 19, 2021
Most of Bagram Airfield, the largest U.S. base in Afghanistan for much of the past 20 years, is a ghost town.
But in the days before coalition troops left on July 2, some of the last to leave scrambled to safeguard war mementos or make sure that what stayed behind wouldn’t be left to whatever comes next in a country still at war.
Elsewhere around the sprawling base, troops saved a memorial to five soldiers and contractors killed in a 2016 suicide bombing. It’s in transit to Fort Hood, Texas, where it will be re-dedicated, said Michael Garrett, spokesman for the 1st Cavalry Division Sustainment Brigade.
At one point during the drawdown, a building housing U.S. Special Forces in Kandahar burned down, leaving 25 troops without shelter. The USO sent bedding, pillows and blankets, she said.
Cafeterias at Bagram began closing in mid-June, leaving many of the last Americans there stuck with Meals, Ready to Eat.
Culverhouse-Steadman flew out May 25 with two black suitcases – one with her personal effects, and the other with the Tillman jersey and other keepsakes.
She chose to leave her personal effects behind. Fortunately, a friend from the post office agreed to mail her that suitcase.
The Tillman jersey is now at USO headquarters in Arlington, Va. It may be sent later to Arizona, where his family and foundation are based, the USO said.