On Monday, December 22, 2014, the Pentagon announced that Gen. Mark Milley has been tapped to decide the fate of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.
For years, Bergdahl’s story has captivated the military community and civilians alike. In June, 2009, then Private First Class Bergdahl, disappeared from Combat Outpost Mest-Lalak in Afghanistan. Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban and held by the Haqqani insurgent network until May 31, 2014. Bergdahl was released to U.S. officials as part of a prisoner swap, in exchange for five Taliban leaders being held at the naval base in Guantanamo Bay.
Several of Bergdahl’s former comrades have made claims that he deserted, or at the very least, abandoned his post. Some members of the military blame Bergdahl for the deaths of other U.S. service members that occurred while they were searching for the missing soldier. And some Americans are displeased that we released senior Taliban leaders who were in U.S. custody. And there are those who contend that Bergdahl is innocent. Even the Army has commented that although the circumstances of his disappearance are under investigation, Bergdahl did nothing wrong during his captivity. The whole saga is fraught with differing opinions.
Sgt. Bergdahl is still on active duty, and since undergoing treatment at Brooke Army Medical Center, has been assigned to administrative duty at Fort Sam Houston, pending resolution of highly publicized case.
If the Army finds that Bergdahl did willfully desert or abandon his post, the sergeant will be subjected to disciplinary measures, up to Court Martial. It now falls on Gen. Milley to determine Bergdahl’s fate.
The four-star general is the former commander of Fort Hood, and is currently the commander of the Army Forces Command (FORSCOM). A number of resources will factor in to Gen. Milley’s decision, among them Major General Kenneth Dahl’s investigative report which reviewed Bergdahl’s actions before his disappearance. Gen. Milley has no deadline for resolving the case and is free to accept or reject Dahl’s recommendations.
Gen. Milley’s decision could determine whether Bergdahl is a hero, a villain, or a victim in the story. Those who have watched the entire Bergdahl saga now await the final chapter and subsequent conclusion.
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Military Connection: Update on Bergdahl Story: By Debbie Gregory