Thursday, March 22, 2007

Former NFL Player Joins Marine Corps [J. Mark English]

From Fox Sports:

A former NFL player who joined the Marines and was motivated by college roommate Pat Tillman, who died in Afghanistan, was heading for the war in Iraq Tuesday night.

Lance Cpl. Jeremy Staat, a former defensive lineman for the Pittsburgh Steelers and St. Louis Rams who had been playing Arena Football, was one of 300 Marines in the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment being deployed from Kaneohe Bay. The unit is expected to be in Iraq for seven months.

"The way I look at it, we're spreading freedom, and you have to support the troops and you have to support the war," Staat, 29, told KITV in Honolulu on Tuesday as he prepared to leave from Hawaii. "You can't just tell some Marine who just lost his buddy that we supported you but not the war, because in that case you're basically saying that Marine, his buddy, just died for nothing. We're one team."

Tillman, who played defensive back for the Arizona Cardinals, was killed by friendly fire near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in April 2004. The Defense Department is investigating allegations of a coverup, including the Army's failure to tell Tillman's family for several weeks that he had been killed by gunfire from his fellow Army Rangers, not by enemy fire, as they initially were told.

Semper Fi! God Bless Lance Cpl. Staat. I hope for his speedy return. There was a time when athletes in the pro's were expected to serve. After 1941, during World War II, nearly all of the big stars in MLB joined the service...most volunteered. Their courage and bravery that once was demonstrated on the field, were taken into real battle. Those veterans secured freedom for people all across the globe. May Staat, and those that serve with him come home soon. Thank you for your service!

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