Military Connection: Update on Sgt. Bergdahl: By Debbie Gregory

Bergdahl update

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl disappeared from his post in Afghanistan’s Paktika province on June 30, 2009. Bergdahl was stationed there with the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, based out of Fort Richardson, Alaska. The sergeant was captured by the Taliban and held for nearly five years. Sgt. Bergdahl’s captivity finally ended on May 31, 2014, when he was traded for five Taliban detainees from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

According to Army officials, Sgt. Bergdahl is back on duty, currently assigned to administrative duties at Fort Sam Houston in Texas, and lives without restrictions at the non-commissioned officers’ quarters there.

Since his release, several soldiers, including some who served with Sgt. Bergdahl, have accused him of voluntarily leaving his post. These soldiers, as well as other service members, have noted that several soldiers were killed, and others wounded, in the search operations for the missing Bergdahl.

The Army has been conducting an investigation into Bergdahl’s disappearance from his post back in 2009, and a completed Article 15-6 investigation was expected mid-August. The investigating officer, Army Maj. Gen. Kenneth R. Dahl, now believes that his report will likely be filed in September. Once General Dahl’s report is submitted, it will be subject to a legal review that could further delay a decision on Bergdahl’s fate.

Eugene Fidell, Bergdahl’s attorney, says thatSgt. Bergdahl has been cooperative in the interviews, and has answered all of Dahl’s questions. Fidell also claims that Sgt. Bergdahl was never read his rights until August 6, 2014.  The lawyers said that the amount of time the reading  of his rights was withheld could be a factor, should the Army attempt to pursue criminal charges against Bergdahl.

Fidell said that if Sgt. Bergdahl is cleared of charges, he plans to leave the Army and attend college. If Bergdahl is cleared, he will be eligible for Veteran education benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which requires that Veterans discharge from the armed forces under honorable conditions.

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Military Connection: Update on Sgt. Bergdahl:  By Debbie Gregory