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Military Connection: Bergdahl Charged with Desertion

Bergdahl

By Debbie Gregory.

On March 25, 2015 it was announced that Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl would be charged for his role in his capture by the Taliban.

Bowe Bergdahl was reported missing from his unit in the Paktika Province of Afghanistan on June 30, 2009. He was captured by the Taliban and held for five years by the Haqqani Network, a militia group loyal to the Taliban. His highly publicized release on May 31, 2014, was secured by exchanging Bergdahl’s freedom for five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay, known to be top Taliban players before their capture.

During the entirety of his capture, the circumstances of Bergdahl’s disappearance from his post were fiercely debated within the military community and throughout the mainstream media. But testimony from other soldiers in his unit, as well as his own words found in correspondence to his family, indicated that Bergdahl deserted his post.

Shortly after Bergdahl’s release, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army General Martin Dempsey said this about Bergdahl’s future: “The U.S. Army will not ignore any misconduct by released Taliban detainee Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, but he should be considered innocent until proven guilty.” He went on to say, “Our Army’s leaders will not look away from misconduct if it occurred. In the meantime, we will continue to care for him and his family.”

On June 16, 2014, the Army began conducting an investigation into Bergdahl’s disappearance. In December, 2014, the Army referred Bergdahl’s case to General Mark Milley, Commander of U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM).

General Milley had a variety of legal options to choose from in the case, including the option to drop any and all charges of misconduct against Sgt. Bergdahl. But with the findings of the investigation, which have not been made public, Gen. Milley saw fit to charge Bergdahl with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. If found guilty, Bergdahl could face a punishment of up to life in prison.

But it is widely speculated that due to his time spent in captivity, Bergdahl sentence would be little-to-no prison time, if he is found guilty. However, Bergdahl would forfeit any of his Veteran benefits and the back-pay that he would have been due for May 2009 through May 2014.

A general consensus around the military community is that Bergdahl’s actions put other service members’ lives at risk. This point is underlined in the fact that during the initial search for Bergdahl, six soldiers lost their lives. For that reason alone, many service members and Veterans want to see justice served.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Bergdahl Charged with Desertion: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Update on Bergdahl Story: By Debbie Gregory

Bergdahl update

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.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Update on Bergdahl Story: By Debbie Gregory