• December 25, 2014

If Bergdahl abandoned post, UCMJ must kick in

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Posted: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 4:30 am

As experts and non-experts discuss the ins and outs of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s release from his Taliban captors, the evidence surrounding his mysterious disappearance is becoming more clear.

First off, Bergdahl simply walked away from his unit in 2009 with little more than a compass, a knife and water, according to multiple reports. Secondly, soldiers went into high gear to find Bergdahl, and according to some reports, as many as eight soldiers died while searching for him.

Further, Bergdahl, a member of the 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, also had become disillusioned with the Army during his deployment in Afghanistan. He reportedly had written emails questioning America’s role in Afghanistan, and expressed interest in walking over the mountains to India or China.

So, one night, he simply put down his rifle and body armor, and started walking away from his post, according to solders who served with him.

The Taliban found him and kept him until last weekend.

I’m sure Bergdahl has been through hell in his five years as a prisoner. But the talk since his release that he has already been through “enough” and should avoid any other punishment is dismissive of his irresponsible actions.

Any soldier who has gone through basic training, such as Bergdahl did, is taught to not abandon his or her post.

Bergdahl did.

Soldiers are also not to leave a fallen soldier behind.

Bergdahl’s comrades went looking for him, and some paid the ultimate price.

For that, Bergdahl’s action of simply walking away is inexcusable.

To those saying Bergdahl has been punished enough, tell that to the families of the soldiers who were killed looking for him.

Is Bergdahl’s five years as a POW worth your son’s life?

The only answer is no.

That the U.S. traded Bergdahl for five Taliban leaders only pours salt on the wounds.

A full investigation is warranted, and any indication that Bergdahl abandoned his post and deserted his unit should be met with stern charges in accordance with the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

We’ve paid too a high a price not to.

And if there are any Fort Hood soldiers out there who served with Bergdahl, I’d like to speak to you. Please contact me.

Jacob Brooks, a former Army tanker, is the city editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. Contact him at jbrooks@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7468.

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