Pat Tillman’s Jersey Was At Bagram Air Base – Where Is It Now?

Pat Tillman’s jersey was a precious commodity at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. It was not just ordinary memorabilia, it was an inspiring symbol of the sacrifice he made for his service to the country. But when the United States left Bagram in such a hurry….where did it go? During the heyday of Bagram, the USO Pat Tillman Center held not only his jersey (#40) but many other mementos of the Afghanistan war.

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In an article by J.P. Lawrence on Stripes, the journey of all the memorabilia present at Bagram Air Base was revealed in the USO Director’s cataloguing of the mementos for a year prior to leaving. And the article reveals where Pat Tillman’s Jersey and other important items ended up.

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…

It’s where Rebecca Medeiros, former USO country director in Afghanistan, spent the last year cataloguing mementos.

“It’s important those things came back to the U.S., instead of being left behind in Bagram, where we don’t know the future of that location,” Medeiros said. “We don’t know if those items would be taken care of, or their meaning would be understood.” …

The USO kept employees at Bagram as long as possible, in part to ensure that the mementos soldiers left there could be brought home, said Alan Reyes, the organization’s chief operating officer.

“We do our best to preserve artifacts of historical or symbolic significance to us,” Reyes said.

Stripes

Pat Tillman’s jersey hung behind a glass frame in the USO center. The center itself contained numerous mementos, such as a memorial to five soldiers and contractors killed in a 2016 suicide bombing. that memorabilia is on its way to Fort Hood, Texas. There they will rededicate it.

A steel beam from the World Trade center briefly disappeared and no one knew where it went until they learned that it had been relocated to Fort Drum back in 2015.

The USO employees worked to “sanitize” the air base since they knew that no trace of America was supposed to be left behind. They ripped down stickers, took down signs, and painted over murals. Pat Tillman’s Jersey was taken by USO employee Kimberly Culverhouse-Steadman along with a suitcase full of other memorabilia in May. Some objected to painting over the murals.

“I didn’t like it at all. It’s like going into the Louvre and destroying the Mona Lisa.”

James Van Holland, military contractor, photographer

All in all, the USO rescued as many of the important mementos of the US presence at Bagram Air Base as possible. Pat Tillman’s jersey is now at USO headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. They will be sending it to Arizona to the Tillman Family and Foundation.

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Featured screenshot of Pat Tillman in his famous jersey from The Famous People.

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