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Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl: Traitor or Honorable Serviceman?


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Davaoeno

dont get me wrong - if there is hard evidence that he went awol and others died " trying to rescue him" then I have no problem with frying his ass.   But if there is no such evidence then he was simply awol.

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I think bergdhal deserves... a short rope and a long drop...

sad that the real hero's died trying to save him during his confused years...

Bill H

its a sensitive subject for many we had a supply sergeant in viet nam who was Selling M-16 to the enemy people who do stuff like desert and help the other guys rank up there 3 levels below snitch   

 

A related unit to ours had a situation something like that as well.  Unfortunately, the perp accidently fell out of a helicopter cruising at 3,000 feet, so nothing proceeded on the investigation.

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smokey

in a war zone no one just goes AWOL and checks into the Holiday inn for a few years....  maybe I can explain it better by example say a Drug enforcement officer in mexico goes AWOL and moves to the cartel side ... AWOL is what a solider does when he is stationed in the usa and he overstays his leave by visiting his GF ... I don't think he was going AWOL to get home to betty sue

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Ozepete

Agree, regardless of what anyone thinks they know, surely he is entitled to a trial. Any just and fair society would allow that before the lynch mentality takes over.

If he is found guilty then deal with him but surely not without a trial, or have we become that uncivilized?

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Salty Dog

could you elaborate please. Exactly who are these heros that died trying to save him ?? Doesnt military justice require some sort of evidence before a person is found guilty of things like treason ?

Guilty or not, several soldiers died during the search for him and that is a fact.

 

If you really want their names, Google is your friend...

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smokey

just and fair like the members here when a foreigner is arrested and accused ??????????    he risked many lives by leaving his post .....  if a person don't want to be a there he could of told his commander  what he planned to do and asked to be detained and sent back to the usa .. I think his pea brain thought he would be a hero to the other side

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lamoe

In the days following his disappearance, the Army sent out numerous patrols looking for this jerk, not knowing he'd ran away to join the enemy.  A man was killed on one of these patrols, but I don't remember the exact details because I was not following the case at that time.  I think he might have been a Special Forces guy, but you would have to either Google or ask one of the guys here who followed the case for details.

 

Not one member of his platoon backed his story or supported him after he was released by his captors.  That should tell you a great deal because these are the guys who knew him best.  Additionally the Army developed quite a body of evidence supporting the idea he intentionally abandoned his post in order to seek out the enemy.

 

The only reason he was not tried immediately upon his return is because a group of very powerful politicians traded him for 5 high value enemy combatants in some demented/insane attempt to gain for with these terrorists.  Once they did that, they did not have the courage to admit they had made a mistake and tried to sweep the whole affair under the rug, so to speak.  However, his former platoonmates raised such a hue and cry over the insanity and injustice of it all the politions gave up overtly trying to make it appear it was a good trade.  They switched to a back channel effort after trying to cover up what they'd done for over a year, but by this time the public was too insenst to let it all fade away.  Meanwhile the Army's own investigators unearthed a substantial body of evidence pointing to his guilt.

 

Now you know.

 

There was no confusion about releasing those 5 - it was Prissy's way of starting to return his brothers to the field

 

dont get me wrong - if there is hard evidence that he went awol and others died " trying to rescue him" then I have no problem with frying his ass.   But if there is no such evidence then he was simply awol.

 

You don't go AWOL in a combat zone

 

http://usmilitary.about.com/od/justicelawlegislation/a/awoldesertion.htm

 

"The offense of desertion, under Article 85 carries a much greater punishment than the offense of AWOL, under Article 86. Many people believe that if one is absent without authority for 30 days or more, the offense changes from AWOL to desertion, but that's not quite true.

The primary difference between the two offenses is "intent to remain away permanently," or if the purpose of the absence is to shirk "important duty," (such as a combat deployment).

If one intends to return to "military control" someday, one is guilty of AWOL, not desertion, even if they were away for 50 years. Conversely, if a person was absent for just one minute, and then captured, he could be convicted of desertion, if the prosecution could prove that the member intended to remain away from the military permanently.

If the intent of the absence was to "shirk important duty," such as a combat deployment, then the "intent to remain away permanently" to support a charge of desertion is not necessary. However, Such services as drill, target practice, maneuvers, and practice marches are not ordinarily "important duty." "Important duty" may include such duty as hazardous duty, duty in a combat zone, certain ship deployments, etc. Whether a duty is hazardous or a service is important depends upon the circumstances of the particular case, and is a question of fact for the court-martial to decide.

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Salty Dog

Agree, regardless of what anyone thinks they know, surely he is entitled to a trial. Any just and fair society would allow that before the lynch mentality takes over.

If he is found guilty then deal with him but surely not without a trial, or have we become that uncivilized?

But you've pointed out several times in the past that Americans are not civilized like you Aussies are…

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JamesMusslewhite

could you elaborate please.  Exactly who are these heros that died trying to save him ??  Doesnt military justice require some sort of evidence before a person is found guilty of things like treason ?

 

This article mentions their names and goes into detail about the search for Bergdahl. Yes, the UCMJ is merely the rules in which the serviceman lives under, but the legal aspects of a trial are handled by a military legal department which is trained in the procedures on a military tribunal. There are strict adherence which must be followed to insure servicemen accused of a crime or infraction are to be treated and how the trial is to be conducted to best insure they receive a fair trial. If found guilty the punishment(s) are also already established. It is a system that dates back before Valley Forge.

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Davaoeno

Guilty or not, several soldiers died during the search for him and that is a fact.

 

If you really want their names, Google is your friend...

 

I took your suggestion and googled it.  It appears that no one died looking for him ! [ despite what Salty calls " the facts" ]   Thank you for guiding me Salty .

 

Did 6 Soldiers Really Die Looking for Bergdahl?

BY REUTERS 6/9/14 AT 6:02 AM
WASHINGTON/KABUL (Reuters) - The frantic search for Bowe Bergdahl began the moment his comrades discovered he was no longer inside the fragile outpost in a rock-strewn valley in one of the most hostile corners of Afghanistan.

Exactly why Bergdahl left is subject to intense scrutiny. But accounts by two Taliban sources as well as several U.S. officials and fellow soldiers raise doubt over media reports that he had sought to join the Taliban, and over suggestions that the deaths later that year of six soldiers in his battalion were related to the search for him.

His dramatic release on May 31 after five years in captivity in return for five Taliban commanders sparked a national controversy over whether President Barack Obama paid too high a price for his freedom. That was fueled by allegations by some in his battalion that he was a deserter, and that soldiers died because they were looking for him after his disappearance in the early hours of June 30, 2009. 

While many questions remain, a Reuters reconstruction of his disappearance indicates that at the time when Bergdahl’s six comrades in the 1st Battalion of the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment were killed in August and September 2009, his fallen comrades were on other missions like securing the Afghan elections and, according to one U.S. military official, the period of intensive ground searches had already ended.   

But several soldiers in his unit say the quest to locate him never really ended, and that it was an element of every mission they undertook, prompting some to blame the deaths on him.

    The U.S. Army has declined to give an account of those fraught weeks saying a new investigation will be conducted when Bergdahl, now being treated at a U.S. military hospital in Germany, is able to take part.

    An initial investigation noted that Bergdahl had slipped away from his base in the past, once during training in California, only to return a short while later, according to people familiar with its classified findings.    

    His disappearance in June 2009 came at a time of increasing attacks on U.S. forces from a resurgent Taliban: there were nearly 200 U.S. combat deaths in Afghanistan between the time of his disappearance and the end of 2009.

    He had been on guard duty in one of the armored trucks parked in a circle on a dry riverbed to form a crude outpost in one of the most hostile corners of Afghanistan, in Paktika province along the border with Pakistan, according to several of his fellow soldiers.

    They described him as a bookish loner who would rather learn Pashto than drink beer. Bergdahl, they said, had few close friends in the unit. "He definitely was very reserved, an introvert," said former Sergeant Matt Vierkant, a team leader in Bergdahl's platoon.

    At roll call that morning, it became quickly apparent that he was missing - though his gun, ammunition and body armor had been left behind.

    

    MISSING-PERSON REPORT

    After searching the trucks, latrines, bunkers and quarters of Afghan National Police stationed with them, the platoon radioed in a missing-person report and immediately set out to search for him. Within two and a half hours, infantry units had fanned out to set up roadblocks and search nearby villages.

    The area was tense. Three days earlier, Pakistani warplanes had launched a new offensive against the Taliban just across the border in South Waziristan, killing at least a dozen Taliban fighters in a rugged region known for heavily armed tribesmen and camps harboring al Qaeda and Taliban leaders.

    As the search got under way, Vierkant, Bergdahl's fellow platoon member, encountered two village children who said they had seen an American in Army clothes crawling through the weeds.

    At about 2:30 p.m., a U.S. listening post picked up radio chatter indicating that an American soldier with a camera was looking for someone who could speak English, according to U.S. military records published by anti-secrecy group Wikileaks. Three hours later, they heard a U.S. soldier had been captured.

    Taliban sources say they found Bergdahl walking alone after receiving a tip from local villagers.

    "Our people didn't understand what he was saying at first because they don’t speak English. But later when they took him to a safe location, we realized that he wasn't happy with his people and that's why he left them," a Taliban commander based in the Pakistani city of Quetta told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

   The next night, Afghan National Police at the outpost where Bergdahl had disappeared received a radio call from the Taliban saying they wanted to trade 15 prisoners for the American, the military reports said.

    Four days after that, the Army received a tantalizing tip - Bergdahl had been spotted in a black Toyota Corolla, flanked by men on motorcycles. He was wearing dark khaki clothing with a bag over his head.

    That was the closest they would get for another five years.

    Taliban fighters moved Bergdahl to Angoor Adda, a border town between South Waziristan in Pakistan and Afghanistan's Paktika province. He was then taken to South Waziristan and later to the Shawal valley, a forested, mountainous area between North and South Waziristan, a Taliban commander based in Helmand province told Reuters.  

    Bergdahl did not show any interest in converting to Islam or joining the Taliban during those early weeks of his captivity, the commander said.  

    "We didn't trust him as he could have been a spy. There were frequent drone strikes in the tribal areas and that's why we were afraid of him," he said.

    Bergdahl has told U.S. authorities he was held in solitary confinement for long periods. The New York Times reported that he told medical officials in Germany he was kept in a metal cage in the dark for weeks after he tried to escape. [iD:nL2N0OP02F]

   

    FRANTIC GROUND SEARCH

    Bergdahl's regiment searched for him at a frantic pace for several weeks. Where before troops might have had several days of down time to recharge between missions, now they would only return to their base for four to six hours - just enough time to gather more equipment and take a shower. Then it was back to the desert for another mission.

    "When he walked off, everything changed throughout the whole province of Paktika. The mission for us and for everybody else was find Bergdahl as fast as you can," Vierkant said.

    Soldiers had to cope with temperatures that regularly climbed above 100 degrees Farenheit (38 C) and fine sand - known as "moon dust" - that worked its way into eyes, ears, and lungs, causing respiratory infections.

    "It looked like I walked through a big bag of baby powder," said former Specialist Billy Rentiers, who participated in the search as part of Easy Company, a support unit in the 501st regiment.

    The increased number of missions at that time left troops vulnerable to attack more often, forcing them to step beyond the security of their outposts into hostile terrain, said several soldiers involved in the search.

    Ambushes appeared to become more frequent and sophisticated during this time, the soldiers said.

    In mid-July, military officials called off the dedicated ground search and gave soldiers other primary missions after concluding that Bergdahl had been taken to Pakistan, according to a U.S. military official speaking on condition of anonymity. The official said some Bergdahl-related surveillance continued for about another month, and soldiers were also told to keep an eye out and to ask about Bergdahl while carrying out primary missions.

    

    CASUALTIES BEGAN

    It was in mid-August that the battalion, still in Paktika province, started taking casualties. On Aug. 18, a roadside bomb killed Staff Sergeant Clayton Bowen, 29, and Private First Class Morris Walker, 23.

    Bowen's mother, Reesa Doebbler, says she was told by her son's former comrades that he was on a mission to provide election security, an account confirmed by other sources, including a U.S. military official. Reuters was unable to contact Walker's family.

Staff Sergeant Michael Murphrey, 25, died on Sept. 6 while setting up a security camp after a day spent distributing humanitarian aid, said Jack Kessna, a former member of Bergdahl's Blackfoot Company who has worked with other former soldiers to determine the cause of the deaths. Kessna said Murphrey's death could not be linked directly to the search.

    Murphrey's sister, Krisa, said she was never given official information about his mission after his death and had to rely on accounts by her brother's comrades.

    "Some say that he was not on a rescue mission, that he was on a humanitarian mission. And then some say that, sure it wasn’t a rescue mission, per se, but Bergdahl was always the secondary mission," she told Reuters.

    Staff Sergeant Kurt Curtiss, 27, was shot on Aug. 26 while his unit was supporting Afghan security forces during an enemy attack. Reuters was not able to contact Curtiss' family.

    On Sept. 4, Second Lieutenant Darryn Andrews, 34, died when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with a roadside bomb and a rocket-propelled grenade. Private First Class Matthew Martinek, 20, died a week later from wounds sustained in the same attack. The parents of both Andrews and Martinek told Reuters last week they believe their sons died searching for Bergdahl, saying they were told this by other soldiers in the platoon.

    Former Private First Class Jose Baggett, who normally sat next to Andrews on every mission as driver and radio telephone operator, had been injured when a roadside bomb hit his truck on a previous mission. Martinek took his place.

    "I even remember helping him pack his gear for the mission," Baggett said. "Worst day of my life to date." 

   Baggett says he doesn't think the death of the two soldiers, or anybody else, can be directly linked to the search. Even if Bergdahl had not walked off, the battalion still could have taken casualties during its 12-month tour of Afghanistan, he says.

    A U.S. military official said that, like the other casualties, the two men were not engaged in a search for Bergdahl but were on a logistics mission.

    Vierkant believes otherwise.

"It was what every mission was, every day: find Bergdahl," he said.

 
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lamoe

There is "direct" and then there is due to.

 

Somewhat like an out of district ambulance crew  dying in a traffic accident rushing to cover for other crews busy taking care of drive by shooting victims.

 

 

THE CORNER THE ONE AND ONLY.

Did Six Soldiers Really Die Looking for Bergdahl? Not Quite SHARE ARTICLE ON FACEBOOKSHARE TWEET ARTICLETWEET PLUS ONE ARTICLE ON GOOGLE PLUS+1 PRINT ARTICLE EMAIL ARTICLE ADJUST FONT SIZEAA by SPENCER CASE June 9, 2014 4:26 PM

 

The allegation that Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl’s disappearance and alleged desertion led to the deaths of at least six soldiers has intensified the public reaction to news that the U.S. exchanged five Taliban leaders for Bergdahl. But a closer examination of the story calls into question claims that a number of soldiers died in the process of looking for the missing infantryman. In a CNN story entitled “How did 6 die after Bergdahl’s disappearance?” Jake Tapper writes, Interviews with soldiers familiar with the specific missions in which the six died suggest the charge [that the search for Bergdahl resulted in six deaths] is complicated — but not without merit given how much the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment became focused on “PR” — personnel recovery — after Bergdahl vanished from his guard post on June 30, 2009. Tapper goes on to detail the circumstances of each of the deaths in the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment — Bergdahl’s unit — that occurred between August 18 and September 6, 2009. All six deaths happened after the initial search, called DUSTWIN (Duty States: Whereabouts Unknown), had concluded. An unnamed U.S. official told CNN that the Army and the Pentagon could find no evidence that anyone was killed while searching for Bergdahl. Nevertheless, there is reason to believe that pressure to search for Bergdahl as an auxiliary objective to other missions played some role in these deaths. For example, the first deaths, on August 18, were those of Staff Sergeant Clayton Bowen, 29, of San Antonio, Texas, and Pfc. Morris Walker, 23, of Fayetteville, N.C. They died from an IED blast while on a reconnaissance mission in Paktika Province, preparing for the August 20 elections. An unnamed officer quoted in the story said he believes the numerous air-assault missions aiding the search for Bergdahl contributed to the poor security situation in that province. The claim that Bergdahl’s desertion did lead to American deaths, if indirectly, is further supported by a June 6 piece for the Daily Beast by former Army captain Nathan Bradley Bethea. Bethea, who served in Bergdahl’s battalion in Afghanistan when he went missing, elaborated the points made in that piece during a later interview with Anderson Cooper. He told Cooper: When the report came up that there was an American soldier missing and he was likely captured, we . . . stopped everything that was happening in Paktika Province – and, to be honest with you, the whole of Regional Command East, Paktika Paktya, Ghazni and Khowst provinces – every American soldier got a change of mission and people starting getting sent out on these large-scale [operations] called “cordon and search” operations in which any village, any location where they had received information of a possible, you know, safe-house, or area where guys involved might be hiding, or where Bergdahl would be being held, they would go and surround the village and search every house, and this went on for days and then weeks. Bethea’s piece also suggests that there could be more than six related deaths, since that figure accounts only for the fatalities in Bergdahl’s own unit: One of my close friends was the company executive officer for the unit at Zerok. He is a mild-mannered and generous guy, not the kind of person prone to fits of pique or rage. But, in his opinion, the attack would not have happened had his company received its normal complement of intelligence aircraft: drones, planes, and the like. Instead, every intelligence aircraft available in theater had received new instructions: find Bergdahl. My friend blames Bergdahl for his soldiers’ deaths. The preponderance of evidence seems to suggest that soldiers did indeed die due to Bergdahl’s disappearance, but exactly how many and who they were might be unknowable.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/379926/did-six-soldiers-really-die-looking-bergdahl-not-quite-spencer-case

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Davaoeno

There is "direct" and then there is due to.

 

Somewhat like an out of district ambulance crew  dying in a traffic accident rushing to cover for other crews busy taking care of drive by shooting victims.

 

 

THE CORNER THE ONE AND ONLY.

Did Six Soldiers Really Die Looking for Bergdahl? Not Quite SHARE ARTICLE ON FACEBOOKSHARE TWEET ARTICLETWEET PLUS ONE ARTICLE ON GOOGLE PLUS+1 PRINT ARTICLE EMAIL ARTICLE ADJUST FONT SIZEAA by SPENCER CASE June 9, 2014 4:26 PM

 

The allegation that Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl’s disappearance and alleged desertion led to the deaths of at least six soldiers has intensified the public reaction to news that the U.S. exchanged five Taliban leaders for Bergdahl. But a closer examination of the story calls into question claims that a number of soldiers died in the process of looking for the missing infantryman. In a CNN story entitled “How did 6 die after Bergdahl’s disappearance?” Jake Tapper writes, Interviews with soldiers familiar with the specific missions in which the six died suggest the charge [that the search for Bergdahl resulted in six deaths] is complicated — but not without merit given how much the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment became focused on “PR” — personnel recovery — after Bergdahl vanished from his guard post on June 30, 2009. Tapper goes on to detail the circumstances of each of the deaths in the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment — Bergdahl’s unit — that occurred between August 18 and September 6, 2009. All six deaths happened after the initial search, called DUSTWIN (Duty States: Whereabouts Unknown), had concluded. An unnamed U.S. official told CNN that the Army and the Pentagon could find no evidence that anyone was killed while searching for Bergdahl. Nevertheless, there is reason to believe that pressure to search for Bergdahl as an auxiliary objective to other missions played some role in these deaths. For example, the first deaths, on August 18, were those of Staff Sergeant Clayton Bowen, 29, of San Antonio, Texas, and Pfc. Morris Walker, 23, of Fayetteville, N.C. They died from an IED blast while on a reconnaissance mission in Paktika Province, preparing for the August 20 elections. An unnamed officer quoted in the story said he believes the numerous air-assault missions aiding the search for Bergdahl contributed to the poor security situation in that province. The claim that Bergdahl’s desertion did lead to American deaths, if indirectly, is further supported by a June 6 piece for the Daily Beast by former Army captain Nathan Bradley Bethea. Bethea, who served in Bergdahl’s battalion in Afghanistan when he went missing, elaborated the points made in that piece during a later interview with Anderson Cooper. He told Cooper: When the report came up that there was an American soldier missing and he was likely captured, we . . . stopped everything that was happening in Paktika Province – and, to be honest with you, the whole of Regional Command East, Paktika Paktya, Ghazni and Khowst provinces – every American soldier got a change of mission and people starting getting sent out on these large-scale [operations] called “cordon and search” operations in which any village, any location where they had received information of a possible, you know, safe-house, or area where guys involved might be hiding, or where Bergdahl would be being held, they would go and surround the village and search every house, and this went on for days and then weeks. Bethea’s piece also suggests that there could be more than six related deaths, since that figure accounts only for the fatalities in Bergdahl’s own unit: One of my close friends was the company executive officer for the unit at Zerok. He is a mild-mannered and generous guy, not the kind of person prone to fits of pique or rage. But, in his opinion, the attack would not have happened had his company received its normal complement of intelligence aircraft: drones, planes, and the like. Instead, every intelligence aircraft available in theater had received new instructions: find Bergdahl. My friend blames Bergdahl for his soldiers’ deaths. The preponderance of evidence seems to suggest that soldiers did indeed die due to Bergdahl’s disappearance, but exactly how many and who they were might be unknowable.

 

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/379926/did-six-soldiers-really-die-looking-bergdahl-not-quite-spencer-case

 

 

All the more reason not to convict him of treason without sufficient evidence .  

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Salty Dog

 

I took your suggestion and googled it.  It appears that no one died looking for him ! [ despite what Salty calls " the facts" ]   Thank you for guiding me Salty .

 

Did 6 Soldiers Really Die Looking for Bergdahl?

BY REUTERS 6/9/14 AT 6:02 AM
WASHINGTON/KABUL (Reuters) - The frantic search for Bowe Bergdahl began the moment his comrades discovered he was no longer inside the fragile outpost in a rock-strewn valley in one of the most hostile corners of Afghanistan.

Exactly why Bergdahl left is subject to intense scrutiny. But accounts by two Taliban sources as well as several U.S. officials and fellow soldiers raise doubt over media reports that he had sought to join the Taliban, and over suggestions that the deaths later that year of six soldiers in his battalion were related to the search for him.

His dramatic release on May 31 after five years in captivity in return for five Taliban commanders sparked a national controversy over whether President Barack Obama paid too high a price for his freedom. That was fueled by allegations by some in his battalion that he was a deserter, and that soldiers died because they were looking for him after his disappearance in the early hours of June 30, 2009. 

While many questions remain, a Reuters reconstruction of his disappearance indicates that at the time when Bergdahl’s six comrades in the 1st Battalion of the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment were killed in August and September 2009, his fallen comrades were on other missions like securing the Afghan elections and, according to one U.S. military official, the period of intensive ground searches had already ended.   

But several soldiers in his unit say the quest to locate him never really ended, and that it was an element of every mission they undertook, prompting some to blame the deaths on him.

    The U.S. Army has declined to give an account of those fraught weeks saying a new investigation will be conducted when Bergdahl, now being treated at a U.S. military hospital in Germany, is able to take part.

    An initial investigation noted that Bergdahl had slipped away from his base in the past, once during training in California, only to return a short while later, according to people familiar with its classified findings.    

    His disappearance in June 2009 came at a time of increasing attacks on U.S. forces from a resurgent Taliban: there were nearly 200 U.S. combat deaths in Afghanistan between the time of his disappearance and the end of 2009.

    He had been on guard duty in one of the armored trucks parked in a circle on a dry riverbed to form a crude outpost in one of the most hostile corners of Afghanistan, in Paktika province along the border with Pakistan, according to several of his fellow soldiers.

    They described him as a bookish loner who would rather learn Pashto than drink beer. Bergdahl, they said, had few close friends in the unit. "He definitely was very reserved, an introvert," said former Sergeant Matt Vierkant, a team leader in Bergdahl's platoon.

    At roll call that morning, it became quickly apparent that he was missing - though his gun, ammunition and body armor had been left behind.

    

    MISSING-PERSON REPORT

    After searching the trucks, latrines, bunkers and quarters of Afghan National Police stationed with them, the platoon radioed in a missing-person report and immediately set out to search for him. Within two and a half hours, infantry units had fanned out to set up roadblocks and search nearby villages.

    The area was tense. Three days earlier, Pakistani warplanes had launched a new offensive against the Taliban just across the border in South Waziristan, killing at least a dozen Taliban fighters in a rugged region known for heavily armed tribesmen and camps harboring al Qaeda and Taliban leaders.

    As the search got under way, Vierkant, Bergdahl's fellow platoon member, encountered two village children who said they had seen an American in Army clothes crawling through the weeds.

    At about 2:30 p.m., a U.S. listening post picked up radio chatter indicating that an American soldier with a camera was looking for someone who could speak English, according to U.S. military records published by anti-secrecy group Wikileaks. Three hours later, they heard a U.S. soldier had been captured.

    Taliban sources say they found Bergdahl walking alone after receiving a tip from local villagers.

    "Our people didn't understand what he was saying at first because they don’t speak English. But later when they took him to a safe location, we realized that he wasn't happy with his people and that's why he left them," a Taliban commander based in the Pakistani city of Quetta told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

   The next night, Afghan National Police at the outpost where Bergdahl had disappeared received a radio call from the Taliban saying they wanted to trade 15 prisoners for the American, the military reports said.

    Four days after that, the Army received a tantalizing tip - Bergdahl had been spotted in a black Toyota Corolla, flanked by men on motorcycles. He was wearing dark khaki clothing with a bag over his head.

    That was the closest they would get for another five years.

    Taliban fighters moved Bergdahl to Angoor Adda, a border town between South Waziristan in Pakistan and Afghanistan's Paktika province. He was then taken to South Waziristan and later to the Shawal valley, a forested, mountainous area between North and South Waziristan, a Taliban commander based in Helmand province told Reuters.  

    Bergdahl did not show any interest in converting to Islam or joining the Taliban during those early weeks of his captivity, the commander said.  

    "We didn't trust him as he could have been a spy. There were frequent drone strikes in the tribal areas and that's why we were afraid of him," he said.

    Bergdahl has told U.S. authorities he was held in solitary confinement for long periods. The New York Times reported that he told medical officials in Germany he was kept in a metal cage in the dark for weeks after he tried to escape. [iD:nL2N0OP02F]

   

    FRANTIC GROUND SEARCH

    Bergdahl's regiment searched for him at a frantic pace for several weeks. Where before troops might have had several days of down time to recharge between missions, now they would only return to their base for four to six hours - just enough time to gather more equipment and take a shower. Then it was back to the desert for another mission.

    "When he walked off, everything changed throughout the whole province of Paktika. The mission for us and for everybody else was find Bergdahl as fast as you can," Vierkant said.

    Soldiers had to cope with temperatures that regularly climbed above 100 degrees Farenheit (38 C) and fine sand - known as "moon dust" - that worked its way into eyes, ears, and lungs, causing respiratory infections.

    "It looked like I walked through a big bag of baby powder," said former Specialist Billy Rentiers, who participated in the search as part of Easy Company, a support unit in the 501st regiment.

    The increased number of missions at that time left troops vulnerable to attack more often, forcing them to step beyond the security of their outposts into hostile terrain, said several soldiers involved in the search.

    Ambushes appeared to become more frequent and sophisticated during this time, the soldiers said.

    In mid-July, military officials called off the dedicated ground search and gave soldiers other primary missions after concluding that Bergdahl had been taken to Pakistan, according to a U.S. military official speaking on condition of anonymity. The official said some Bergdahl-related surveillance continued for about another month, and soldiers were also told to keep an eye out and to ask about Bergdahl while carrying out primary missions.

    

    CASUALTIES BEGAN

    It was in mid-August that the battalion, still in Paktika province, started taking casualties. On Aug. 18, a roadside bomb killed Staff Sergeant Clayton Bowen, 29, and Private First Class Morris Walker, 23.

    Bowen's mother, Reesa Doebbler, says she was told by her son's former comrades that he was on a mission to provide election security, an account confirmed by other sources, including a U.S. military official. Reuters was unable to contact Walker's family.

Staff Sergeant Michael Murphrey, 25, died on Sept. 6 while setting up a security camp after a day spent distributing humanitarian aid, said Jack Kessna, a former member of Bergdahl's Blackfoot Company who has worked with other former soldiers to determine the cause of the deaths. Kessna said Murphrey's death could not be linked directly to the search.

    Murphrey's sister, Krisa, said she was never given official information about his mission after his death and had to rely on accounts by her brother's comrades.

    "Some say that he was not on a rescue mission, that he was on a humanitarian mission. And then some say that, sure it wasn’t a rescue mission, per se, but Bergdahl was always the secondary mission," she told Reuters.

    Staff Sergeant Kurt Curtiss, 27, was shot on Aug. 26 while his unit was supporting Afghan security forces during an enemy attack. Reuters was not able to contact Curtiss' family.

    On Sept. 4, Second Lieutenant Darryn Andrews, 34, died when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with a roadside bomb and a rocket-propelled grenade. Private First Class Matthew Martinek, 20, died a week later from wounds sustained in the same attack. The parents of both Andrews and Martinek told Reuters last week they believe their sons died searching for Bergdahl, saying they were told this by other soldiers in the platoon.

    Former Private First Class Jose Baggett, who normally sat next to Andrews on every mission as driver and radio telephone operator, had been injured when a roadside bomb hit his truck on a previous mission. Martinek took his place.

    "I even remember helping him pack his gear for the mission," Baggett said. "Worst day of my life to date." 

   Baggett says he doesn't think the death of the two soldiers, or anybody else, can be directly linked to the search. Even if Bergdahl had not walked off, the battalion still could have taken casualties during its 12-month tour of Afghanistan, he says.

    A U.S. military official said that, like the other casualties, the two men were not engaged in a search for Bergdahl but were on a logistics mission.

    Vierkant believes otherwise.

"It was what every mission was, every day: find Bergdahl," he said.

 

 

 

Sorry, but I only know what I heard on TV and read online in the past year.

 

Do you think I would have said several died if I had never seen it from a supposedly reliable news source.

 

I assumed a publication such as Time would be a reliable source.

 

From Time Magazine: June 2, 2014 http://time.com/2809352/bowe-bergdahl-deserter-army-taliban/

 

Staff Sergeant Clayton Bowen, 29, of San Antonio, Texas, and Private 1st Class Morris Walker, 23, of Chapel Hill, N.C., were killed by a roadside bomb in Paktika province on Aug. 18, 2009, while trying to find Bergdahl. Like Bergdahl, they were part of the 4th BCT from Fort Richardson, Alaska.
Edited by Salty Dog
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Davaoeno

 

 

Sorry, but I only know what I heard on TV and read online in the past year.

 

Its unfortunate that when a matter becomes contentious  and personal interests [ or political ones]  become involved you can no longer trust what you read or see on tv.   There is no doubt that the 6 men died during a war and in a very dangerous area. Did they die solely because of Bergdahl ? Maybe. Maybe not . Either way its unfortunate that anyone died at all - for any reason. 

 

It seems the argument is not really about Bergdahl- but about finding someone to blame . 

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battleborn

As far as I know, the military has not charged him with anything.  Still investigating.  Correct?

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