Why US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl Still Matters

Updated: June 3, 2014


By Havoc 13

In a country currently caught up in the Olympic spirit and chronically divorced from its military, it can be easy to lose track of individual US service members, especially those missing in action in the wars fought on the nation’s behalf. In fact, if you ask Americans right now about a captured service member in Afghanistan, they’ll probably think you’re talking about a British military working dog and not US Army soldier who has been a prisoner of war for the last five years.

I thought I’d take a moment to share my thoughts about US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, the longest-held US service member in the Afghanistan theater of war, and outline what I know, what I don’t know, what I think, and why it all matters.

This is what I know:

On 30 Jun3 2009, then-Private First Class Bowdrie “Bowe” Bergdahl, 23, was captured and imprisoned by the enemy in Afghanistan. For reasons that are still not entirely clear, Bergdahl departed his forward operating base in the restive Paktika province along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, and quickly fell into the hands of the Taliban and was then passed along to Pakistan’s ruthless and highly-lethal terrorist proxy group, the Haqqani Network. He has remained in terrorist hands ever since. Bergdahl has appeared in a half dozen or so terrorist propaganda videos, extolling the virtues of his captors and condemning the US-led effort in Afghanistan. Efforts for to effect his recovery or to negotiate his release have thus far proven fruitless. Demands for his release include the payment of $1 million and the release of high-level Taliban prisoners, some of whom are interned at Guantanamo Bay. As is standard practice in situations involving prisoners of war, Bergdahl receives regular promotions and continues to accrue pay and other benefits. He now holds the rank of sergeant in the US Army.

This is what I don’t know:

Why did he do it? In light of the available evidence, it appears likely that he deserted the US Army by abandoning his place of duty, leaving behind his weapon and most of his equipment. One possible explanation is that he intended to either hike his way into Pakistan and seek asylum, or, a less likely but still plausible explanation might be that he deliberately switched sides. There is also the very remote chance that he was legitimately captured by the enemy, possibly through some kind of elaborate ruse, although at this point that seems highly unlikely.

This is what I think:

I think Bowe Bergdahl willingly deserted his post, and was subsequently captured and imprisoned by the enemy. I think it is likely that Bergdahl is a deserter, and at worst an outright traitor. I think that at best, he is (or at least was) hopelessly naïve and is paying for it an extremely unfortunate way. I also think that right now, none of the above really matters, because right now it doesn’t matter what I think about Bowe Bergdahl as a person. There are things that matter more.

One of the things I think matters more is values. In the profession of arms, we don’t leave people to rot in the hands of the enemy, even when we think they might deserve it. We don’t allow them to be used as bargaining chips to adversely affect the prosecution of a war or the implementation of a suitable peace. We don’t allow them to be used as pawns to secure the release of terrorists whose sole aim in life is to return to the battlefield where they can attack American interests and kill American citizens. Our Warrior Ethos does not carry the caveat, “unless we don’t like the guy.”

Our Army and our nation are values-based organizations. Our values are perhaps best represented in the men and women in uniform who ensure our freedoms and protect our way of life. Even if he did do something deserving of punishment, Bowe Bergdahl has already spent more time in prison than Bradley Manning has, and more than Edward Snowden probably will, in far worse conditions than those two men certainly will ever endure. If Bergdahl did in fact desert, if he has in fact been aiding the enemy as alleged, then he needs to answer for those crimes. But it needs to be done after a trial in a US court, and any sentence carried out by the US judicial system. We don’t even allow the International Criminal Court to put our troops on trial and mete out punishments to them, and we definitely shouldn’t allow the Taliban that privilege.

There will be a time and a place for assigning blame and calling names. That time is later. Right now, it’s time to bring US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl home. Those are not things I “think,” these are things I “know.”

This is why it matters:

Like many people who will read this post, I spent a good portion of my last tour in Afghanistan trying to find Bergdahl. It was, in fact, a specified additional duty for everyone in our Task Force. I’ll be honest, after I learned the facts of the case, I became greatly annoyed and considered the search for him to be a distraction from the “real” war we were fighting to salvage our nation-building effort in Afghanistan. This was because, like many people who studied the facts we had available at the time, I kind of thought Bergdahl deserved it. But now, looking back at the facts with a few more years of maturity under my belt and a little less Afghanistan under my feet, I feel differently.

It’s not that I suddenly think Bergdahl is innocent and doesn’t deserve to be punished; based on the evidence available to all of us through open sources, I think it’s logical to assume that Bowe Bergdahl is a bad soldier. In fact, he may even be a bad person. But until he is back in the US, we don’t know for sure. And until he is back in the US, he will continue to be used and exploited in a way that is against our values and is contrary to our national interests.

Given all of this, we need to put real pressure on the terrorist proxy groups holding Bergdahl and on their state sponsor, Pakistan. We should start by completely cut off the $1.6 billion dollars in extortion money… sorry, I mean “foreign aid” that we’re bribing Pakistan with until they convince the group responsible for holding Bergdahl to let him go. We should also step up kinetic strikes against the groups holding Bergdahl. “But what about the peace negotiations?” Newsflash: the people holding Bergdahl are utter irreconcilables. They don’t want to be part of the peace process; peace takes away their raison d’etre. Besides, they know they can wait us out, which means they win. So why should they negotiate?

The Haqqani Network and related groups are ruthless bastards, but they’re not stupid. If they knew we were serious about getting our guy back, they’d find a way to make it happen. We just lack the national will to give them serious incentives. Maybe it’s because we’re too focused on things that Americans really care about, like overflowing toilets in the Olympic Village.

Deserter? Traitor? …Hero? What we choose to call him doesn’t matter at the moment. Ultimately, what really matters is that US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is… US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.

And this is why US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl still matters.




  1. leftoftheboom

    February 15, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    Question: How many Soldiers were injured or killed on patrols that were exclusive to trying to find this nimrod? By exclusive, I mean that without the mission to fix and locate him, they would not have been on that particular patrol.

    We should make it a priority to get Bergdahl back as soon as we retrieve every missing in action from Korea and Viet Nam.

    I deeply understand that we never leave a fallen comrade. I have a hard time claiming him as one. We should have given a court martial to ass in absentia and removed the ambiguity of the situation.

    I would rather we devote our efforts to finding and returning those who did not get “missing” because they decided to leave their post. I would like to get him back just so we could shoot him.

    • Tami for Bowe

      February 15, 2014 at 8:29 pm

      Could you please tell me how you know about anyone killed I know of one injured in a attempted rescue but I missed the part that says that he deserted other than Fox news or Rolling stones this document clearly states when and where he was captured. Could you show me where it states he is a traitor or deserter !!! http://wikileaks.org/afg/event/2009/06/AFG20090630n1790.html

      • Frances

        February 16, 2014 at 1:28 am

        AMEN Tami! Not to mention the military doesn’t promote someone they think is a deserter. Noone knows the story except Bowe and his captors. And I can guarantee if this was one of the authors loved ones they’d be singing a different tune.

        • William

          February 17, 2014 at 6:55 pm

          You are wrong. I was there. He deserted. The Army tried to spin it for good publicity. Keeping all you idiots believing in the benevolence of your government.

        • D

          June 4, 2014 at 9:49 am

          Haha ya the Government never covers anything up. Ya Im sure the Sergeant was a squared away Soldier that was on a special mission and that is why he left his post. Its funny I have not heard one guy who served with him come to his defense.

        • Gary Sharp

          June 4, 2014 at 8:47 pm

          Wrong again, yes they can promote while in deserter status as the money goes to their wife or kids.

          • leftoftheboom

            June 5, 2014 at 7:14 am

            AR 600-8-19

            1–18. Soldiers categorized as missing
            For the purpose of this paragraph, a Soldier who is declared missing is categorized as beleaguered, besieged,
            captured, detained, interned, missing or missing in action. Excluded are personnel who are in an AWOL, deserter, or
            dropped-from-rolls status.
            The promotion authority for promoting Soldiers declared missing is HRC, RRC/Army Reserve GOCOMs, or
            Director, Army National Guard (further delegated to the State Adjutant General (AG)). The CG, HRC maintains
            oversight responsibility for all Soldiers determined to meet the criteria of paragraph
            , above.
            The TIS and TIMIG requirements will not be waived to determine eligibility for promotion or promotion
            selection when Soldiers are officially declared missing. Time absent will be included in any service computation used
            to determine eligibility. In the event it is later determined that a Soldier died prior to an effective date of promotion, the
            promotion will not be revoked.
            (1) Once declared missing for a period of at least 60 days, Soldiers (PV1 through SGT) will be promoted through
            the grade of SSG upon attaining full eligibility for each grade (without waiver). The promotion authority may, as an
            exception to policy, authorize accelerated promotion based on chain of command input provided the Soldier was
            otherwise eligible.
            (2) Once declared missing, Soldiers (SSG through first sergeant (1SG)/MSG) who meet established eligibility
            criteria for consideration by a promotion board will be included in the zone of eligibility for that board for Regular
            Army and USAR Soldiers. ARNG Soldiers will continue to compete for promotion as though they were present and
            will be eligible for selection against valid vacancies. If not selected, all Soldiers remain eligible for continued
            consideration until they no longer meet the eligibility criteria.
            6 AR 600–8–19 • 30 April 2010

        • Cliff

          June 5, 2014 at 12:17 pm

          Settle down Frances.

      • Ryan

        February 16, 2014 at 1:55 am

        Tami for Bowe, anyone that was in RC East when this happened knows what happened. Sorry, I wont be citing any sources or references for you, but the “This is what I think” portion of the article is pretty damn close. And, yes, there were casualties as a result of events related to this soldiers disappearance.

      • Charlie

        February 16, 2014 at 4:31 am

        I can maybe help with some of your questions…

        1. The search lasted longer than that report covers. Unfortunately after multiple raids on training camps/villages, many people were wounded and some were killed, including people who served in his brigade.

        2. The Taliban lie about almost everything. They exaggerate numbers, if they have 10 fighters, they will say they have 1,000 fighters. If they throw a rock at an American vehicle, they tell their commanders via icom, that they annihilated an American convoy. Them saying they captured him while attacking the FOB he was at…. Was a lie.

        3. The only people who know the truth are the people who were actually there. I’m sure talking to them would answer every question you have. You may not like to hear the truth and have animosity towards these Paratroopers. But remember that they had to suffer the consequences of his capture as well.

        I hope this helps, or at least makes a little sense.

      • leftoftheboom

        February 16, 2014 at 9:35 am

        Question: a form of words addressed to a person in order to elicit information or evoke a response; By use of the word Question. I stated up front that I did not have the information and was wondering what that answer might be.

        I apologize if I am using words that are too difficult for you to understand.

        I am also aware, that while not fully denied or confirmed, Evidence states that he walked off the base under his own power and own free will without coercion from the enemy or anyone else. He left his equipment including weapon behind, abandoned his post in a time of war, and disobeyed lawful orders.

        I did say we should get him back. I also said court martial him. I definitely said shoot him if proven guilty. That last part was implied but a standard part of due process.

        • Eric H

          February 16, 2014 at 10:38 pm


        • INTP

          June 13, 2014 at 4:30 pm

          If we are assessing words, let’s go for it.
          By should not be capitalized.
          The second instance of the word question should not be capitalized.
          There should not be a comma after “I am also aware” in your fifth line of writing.
          Evidence should not be capitalized in line five.
          “Including weapon” should be in parenthesis.
          “Definitely” is unnecessary in line nine.
          There should be a comma after “implied” in the final line.

          Grammar and spelling do not make arguments invalid.

          • leftoftheboom

            June 13, 2014 at 9:12 pm

            But pointless comments do. And your’s is pointless.

      • William

        February 17, 2014 at 6:51 pm

        He deserted. I was there. He isn’t a POW. He’s a POS.

      • exinfantrymen

        February 18, 2014 at 8:07 pm

        For the record Bergdahl is called a deserter/traitor, because he is one. As a soldier who deployed with him I think I would know a bit.more than a new article. No-one walks off their post in a combat zone because they were sleep walking. It is clear he did not.have good incentives when leaving his post. A soldier who was capture would not ask their squad leader questions that basically indicated that he was going to walk off. Hint hint why a hand full of NCOs were fired after his disappearance.

    • raimius

      February 16, 2014 at 2:15 am

      You miss the point AND assume things you can’t really know.

      We don’t know why he left his post. At this point, it’s irrelevant. He is an American soldier in enemy hands. That is completely unacceptable.

      WE DO NOT LEAVE MEN BEHIND. There is a reason that Pararescue’s motto is “That others may live.” We should be willing to risk a lot to get OUR PEOPLE back home. If you don’t get that, you don’t get it.

      • leftoftheboom

        February 16, 2014 at 10:53 am

        I don’t care what justification he dreamed up to abandon his duty. There is no possible Legal, moral, or ethical excuse to abandon your post.

        Will you give your life to rescue him? A simple yes or no will suffice. And keep in mind, as a private citizen, you can hop a plane to Kabul tomorrow and go negotiate for him.

        • Kamaangir

          February 16, 2014 at 11:11 am

          All those who are willing to die and leave their families behind so that a deserter can get rescued, repatriated, and then either (a) tried as a deserter and shot or (b) get B.S. kudos and a hero’s welcome so some political shill can get votes, say, “Aye.”

          All DUSTWUNs should be rescued, absolutely. But wasting blood and treasure on this endeavor is just that.

      • DC

        June 3, 2014 at 11:19 am

        Raimius you miss the point, the actions of this deserter took the lives of 6 american soldiers directly in search of him. Many more were re-missioned, and tasked to search for him and were injured or killed indirectly while searching for him. My last deployment in afghanistan just in 2013 caused myself to be remissioned, and task my men to search for him. He should be brought up on murder charges. You can’t say he was in captivity because he was not captured on any military mission conducted by US forces, you can say he has been detained, you can’t say he was kidnapped, because because he deserted his post, and disobeyed US Army Policy on leaving the wire. So here’s the point you need to understand. We the strongest military in the world don’t negotiate with terrorist period!!! This in turn shows to every terrorist organization that there is no value in kidnapping a US soldier. Lets go by the numbers… total US casualties in Afghanistan: 2,323. Deaths caused by Bergdahl more that 6. One of the five GITMO detainees was one of the masterminds that killed over 3000 american citizens on 9/11. So the total american lives to trade is more than 5,329 for Bergdahl. A ratio of 5,329/1. Those are losing odds on the trade market, or in gambling. I guess with your reasoning you’d leave behind more that 5,329 people for one person. This does not bring honor or strength to any army, or nation. Strength and Honor–DC

      • spaulding

        June 3, 2014 at 1:42 pm

        He stopped being an American soldier when and where he left his gear. Should we risk lives for the other american Taliban too?

      • Koz

        June 6, 2014 at 8:28 am

        WE DONT NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORISTS. If you dont get that, you just dont get it.

    • Ethan

      February 16, 2014 at 2:36 am

      No matter what LEAVE NO MAN BEHIND. This man no matter what should be searched for. Every soldier in every branch should be home either with the family or at rest at home.

    • Mayvonne

      February 17, 2014 at 6:51 am

      Did you witness with your own eyes as when he walked away ??? If not, what was the solid proof or evidence you had ? From hearsay?

      • are you kidding me

        June 5, 2014 at 8:33 pm

        really? are you freaking kidding me.. Do you think that, that is something that soldiers go around saying all the time? Ah fuck my buddy that I fought side by side and watched my brothers and sisters get shot up and beat up… Do you think we go around calling every soldier a deserter… I’ll tell you what fuck stick you walk a mile in my shoes carrying my load and then we’ll talk absolutes.

    • Manny

      June 5, 2014 at 9:07 am

      Fuck him he’s a fucking traitor

  2. Ilona Smith

    February 15, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    This “nimrod” as you call him is someone’s son. His name is Bowe Bergdahl. NO ONE LEFT BEHIIND means we leave no one behind. No matter what. As an American soldier he deserves to tell his side . “If” he is guilty, then it’s up to the Army to deal with him and not opinionated people that only hear and see what they want to without having all the facts .

    • Rene LaPolla

      February 15, 2014 at 11:40 pm

      Tami wasn’t referring to Bowe as the Nimrod she was referring to the person et al that wrote the article.

  3. Fred Mussmann

    February 15, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    You’re an asshole that has no clue as to what you “THINK”.

    • Ethan

      February 16, 2014 at 2:34 am

      How can they be wrong on what they believe in?

  4. Rene LaPolla

    February 15, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    If you really think Bowe Bergdahl is a traitor why make a comment? If that were true and way too many American’s are trying to get him home and believe in him don’t Judge him you aren’t Judge or Jury.

    • D

      June 4, 2014 at 9:55 am

      Why make a comment? because this is freaking America and we are allowed to show outrage when are president makes fucktard decisions. Because men died looking for this maggot. Americans don’t like being lied to, this isn’t judge or jury. This is don’t try and polish a turd! Tell us what it is.

  5. Murphy

    February 16, 2014 at 2:20 am

    I am wondering what the reasons for leaving behind POW’s is.
    Just a nice little list from the peanut gallery of overreaction here, maybe.
    Perhaps somebody can post the relevant sections of the UCMJ covering when it’s allowed to “not really feel like giving a shit” about American Prisoners?

    Maybe we could do some research and take a few names off the Vietnam Memorial, right? Just to make sure we don’t have anybody on there who might have been killed while fucking up, RIGHT?

    Or maybe this comment section could grow a fucking sack, get past their personal shit, and deal with the fact that the United States Military has no business leaving personnel as prisoners at any time that they are recoverable.
    Because they are US Servicemen, regardless of their capture.

    If he’s a traitor, we can hang him, sure thanks. But until we know he is one, he is STILL a US Serviceman.

    Sack Up.

    • leftoftheboom

      February 16, 2014 at 10:35 am

      What noble sentiment would you express to the mother or spouse who lost their loved one trying to rescue Bergdahl?

      Feel free to sack up and using meaningless prattle but you have to address Bergdahl by name.

      You are a Casualty Assistance Officer and you are notifying next of kin of the loss of their serviceman. You know that said serviceman died on an operation to retrieve Bergdahl.

      So, you got to look some kid’s mom in the eyes and tell her why her baby boy is dead.

      So Mr. Scrotum of awesome splendor and manliness, crack your walnuts on that task.

    • Joan

      February 18, 2014 at 10:03 pm

      Well said.

  6. John Blacht

    February 16, 2014 at 3:16 am

    leftoftheboom, you’re a joke and horror a human being. Get the facts, first, by doing research and if you are not able to get said facts of *any* topic you research then believe nothing is fact; don’t just pick a side because it’s convenient.

    We should get him back so he could be shot? I doubt you have any clue what it feels like to part of the military family. If you did, you wouldn’t be posting garbage like that. And if you *are* a service member, do us honorable and loyal members a favor… retire, now. In the event you’re a prior military member, retire from life, now.

    • leftoftheboom

      February 16, 2014 at 10:44 am

      Dear John Blacht,

      It is so interesting when someone posts an opinion deriding the humanity of someone else and then their final comment shows what they really feel.

      “retire from life, now.”

      So your suggestion to anyone who does not think the way you think is to kill themselves. Exactly how do you justify the conflict in your moral code? Does your brain hurt from all that twisting?

      I have a very fixed and valid personal code Mr. Blacht. I do not vary my opinions for you or anyone else. And while I can be a bit forceful and sometimes a bit harsh,

      I have never encouraged anyone to kill themselves.

  7. Davis

    February 16, 2014 at 11:07 am

    As others have said before, this guy isn’t worth the trouble. He wasn’t a “fallen comrade,” he was a deserter. A guy who abandoned his fellow soldiers due to his disdain for the war. We shouldn’t uselessly jeopardize another single life in any attempts to rescue him when he is merely receiving some poetic justice. Further, there is a reason he hasn’t been used as a significant bargaining chip; it’s because we don’t want to bring him home and we don’t care if they execute him. Write this guy off the books and let it be a lesson to any other soldier that thinks the Taliban/al Qaeda/ Haqqani aren’t that bad and that we shouldn’t be fighting them.

  8. shirley woolem

    February 16, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Dear Leftattheboom. I learned of Sgt Bowe Bergdahls capture three years ago and being the mother of three sons all I can think about is how his parents must be feeling. I pray and think of them and there son everyday, I dont know the truth of how he got captured but I thank you for writing an article about him no matter how it makes me feel. At least your getting the word out about him. I dont believe President Obama has given this issue his best effort and until he does we wont get Sgt Bergdahl home to find out what happened on June 30th 2009. My sincere condolences to the men who lost there lives trying to get him back and also thank you for your service. We all have our opinions on this issue but in the end we can for the most part agree we need to get him home!His parents need him home and even though I have never met this young man”I need him home” God bless all our troops past and present for they are why we can express our freedom of speech.

    • leftoftheboom

      February 17, 2014 at 1:41 pm

      Dear Shirley, I need to make a clarification. I did not author this article. I am merely a strongly opinioned commenter about it.

      • shirley woolem

        February 18, 2014 at 11:18 am

        Leftoftheboom. Thank you for clearing that up, I miss understood. I still appriciate your comments and as a civilian who has never served in the military I respect your point of view . All I know is this soldier Sgt Bowe Bergdahl needs to come home.Whatever happened that day has affected so many people on a daily basis.He is still a U S soldier and can not be left behind. Thank you again for your service. I am grateful for you and all the others past and present.

  9. Jeff Coulter

    February 16, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    The bottom line is that he is an American Soldier. Regardless of how we may personally feel about him, we are morally bound to do everything we can to recover him. I was taught that we take care of our own whether it be for good or ill. We failed our missing comrades in Korea and Vietnam. We shouldn’t fail SGT Bergdahl.

  10. A de Ortiz

    February 16, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    The order in which you have crafted your scathing opinion and thoughts is apparent in your intent to misguide public opinion. Furthermore, the public reporting of hearsay is not “evidence” as you state in your article. In addition, it is apparent that you know nothing of the justice system when you use the word “assume.” Also, the intent of our system is not to “wait for a time to seek blame and call names.” As you so state in your article, you too, are guilty of using and exploiting his good name against values contrary to our national interests. Your article is not even good enough to call poor journalism. Nor are you immune from your attacks on his character by expressing them as what you “think.” Proof of malice, does allow one to sue for damages to their reputation. Perhaps your article should be entered as such. If anything, we all know “loose lips sink ships.” We can only hope with commentaries such as yours, that public support for Sgt. Bergdahl is stronger.

  11. Bowe's Army

    February 16, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    What is really odd to me is many who were there who say different..tell a different story. When I see these kind of remarks I can’t help but wonder what kind of sick joy these people get out of trying to do harm to Bowe, and where they will be when he comes home. I’ve got a list of names of people who have claimed these same BS stories…they all claim to have been there….LOL! Yeah right! We know who was there, we’ve heard their side and it is not this story. Unless you are willing to tell me your rank and name where and when you were involved, and documented proof that what you say is true, I pay this crap no mind….you can say any damn thing you want at this point huh???? No you can’t. Because of this article, you better hope you aren’t military because you just blew that all to hell for yourself. Karma is a bitch when you are!

    • leftoftheboom

      February 16, 2014 at 7:47 pm

      So give. You claim you got the inside scoop from persons in his unit, you also make the statement that anyone in the military that is associated with this blog is in trouble. I am nice to little old ladies even when they are crotchety so my Karma is just fine.

      Tell the story. Then tell us the name and rank of the person or persons you go it from that is supposed to validate it. You don’t like what is said but you don’t provide a counter argument.


    • The_Other_One

      February 17, 2014 at 2:02 pm

      Wait, were you there? Who are talking about, go on, name names. I’ll wait. The 30 people who were there, who were part of Bergdahl’s platoon or 100 in his company — know that he IS a traitor, he DID desert his post and he DID put alot of good people through extra junky situations for 90+ days, because he wanted an adventure in Afghanistan.

      Go on, tout your ‘sources’ — but you ask ANYONE who WAS THERE, who KNEW Bergdahl in his final days, and they will tell you what he really is.

      • mark

        February 18, 2014 at 1:40 am

        Exactly! Our RCP got statements from bowes platoon Sgt and various other chain of command when we were rerouted to look for the traitor! Rcp2 and RCP5! ALL air assets were diverted to finding him. I had the license plate number for the white passenger vehicle that he was allegedly being transported in written on my turret. He was supposedly dresssed as a woman and restrained. I can’t even begin to explain just how much animosity those involved have for this guy, and out of respect for his family I won’t try but suffice it to say that official witness statements from his platoon back these guys up about him deserting. I still have my notes but doubt that anyone here cares. You all seem to believe thr best in him. Truth is I wish I could as well but I know better…

  12. Rich

    February 16, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    For everyone commenting here or anywhere else…I was a US Serviceman and now, my son is over there. I’ve read allegations, stories, tales; call it whatever you want. But I haven’t seen any evidence or heard any testimony…yet. There is at least 1 proclaimed witness on here. May I suggest that you make yourself available for his trial (court martial), if that ever happens. In the meantime, we don’t know the circumstances of his “leaving his post” or “capture.” What we do know is that a US Serviceman is in enemy hands. So, let’s get him back & explore the questions that we are debating here. In the meantime, if any of you are/were US Servicemen/Women, push your personal feelings aside for now and get the job done. As for the comments regarding the Vietnam or Korean prisoners of war; the USA was wrong for not bringing them home. But two wrongs do not make a right. In other words, let’s not make that mistake here folks.

  13. jason

    February 17, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    Ok so I keep seeing one thing that people are repeating…”he is an american soldier we don’t leave our own behind” well to all of you who really believe this you need to realize he was in fact a tractor he left the cop he was on with intentions to join the Taliban.the only evidence I can provide is to tellyou to talk to any of the soldiers that were deployed there.I was there iv see my friends die looking for this traitor I personally hope he never makes it back to the united states.if he does he won’t make it to trial bc I will find him and kill him prior to this..his home town have parades for him every year most of america thinks he is a hero.when this is just not true he even trains Taliban troops in ways to kill Americans.Also the government isn’t supporting him bc they know this, but they also know if they said he was a traitor the american people would not understand why any one would want to be one the *bad side*.I am not trying to upset anyone with what I am saying an I hope I do not but I do want everyone to know the truth. Geronimo!

    • tehchad

      February 18, 2014 at 11:01 am


      You have a lot of animosity and I can understand, but you need to calm down about the whole situation. He very well might be a traitor, deserter, coward, everything said on this board. In my opinion that would be more of a reason to bring him home to answer for his crimes, and have him do his time. That way we can shatter the illusions and get all the facts of what occured. Also I have to just point this out, at the time he became MIA(I hate DUSTWUN as much as I do the word DONSA. New acronyms for the same meanings bothers me.) He was a PFC. I highly doubt there was anything he could teach the Taliban that they didn’t already know from the internet, surveillance, and fighting experience.
      If and when we do get him back to the United States, we as veterans, and American Citizens must ensure that all facts are brought to the table before any judgement is made.

  14. About fed up

    February 18, 2014 at 10:20 am

    Just throwing my two cents out here, and after this post I probably won’t check back here, but You guys have some real shit in your head to get straight.

    Has no one considered the fact that maybe, JUST MAYBE this was intended to be a suicide attempt? Perhaps he was nothing more than another victim of the insanely high suicide rates in currently deployed/veterans of recent wars, but instead of killing himself he assumed the enemy would kill him (and did not anticipate becoming a PoW). I bet some of you guys have had people you served with kill themselves, I guess they are shitbags too right? Get your shit the fuck together. I don’t know if this is the case, and you don’t know if it’s not. Right now all I know is there is a man who wore the same flag on his right shoulder as me thats being kept prisoner and all he has to look forward to are a bunch of keyboard warriors talking about how much punishment he deserves.

    • tehchad

      February 18, 2014 at 11:05 am

      If this was a suicide attempt it was a pretty shoddy one. Considering that he had pretty much any kind of weapon he wanted at his disposal to do the deed. Or, if like you say he was hoping the enemy would do it for him; why not take his weapon with him to initiate the fight to get the job done?

    • leftoftheboom

      February 18, 2014 at 6:59 pm

      I make my judgements on what I know. All the evidence may not be in but this individual made his own choices and those choices affected his unit, lives in his unit. He made that choice.

  15. T-PRO

    February 18, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    Here is what many people don’t understand about us mountain kids and what apparently was the case with Bowe… when things get weird, we like to head out into the woods and mountains to think. Bowe was said to be one to take a journal and head up to a quiet tall place and write down his thoughts and feelings and I bet this didn’t change when he was deployed. So, everyone wants to come up with all these worst traitor/deserter scenarios to make him look bad, but I bet a lot of you are coming up with justifications of why we are leaving him there to rot away in their hands to make yourself feel better for us failing him.

  16. Whistleblower

    February 19, 2014 at 7:51 am

    No one is dumb enough to put names on the internet. If you can find a master list of who deployed in the 1/501 from Alaska – there is your list.

    All these bikers from Idaho are just butthurt that they will never see him again . And if he did come back to the US, what type of life would he have? He’d be ridiculed and have PTSD .. he would be whisked off to be crucially interrogated like no other American has in years. If anyone think he’d be at home, eating pizza and watching tv is brutally blind and naieve to what would happen if he returned. Sure, Obama would get his awesome media coverage — and then away he would go. And honestly I’d think serious mental health issues would be in play — people like that CAN’T FUNCTION IN SOCIETY!!!!

  17. Gerald

    February 19, 2014 at 11:57 am

    My name is Gerald Sutton. I was in 2nd platoon blackfoot company with Bowe and knew him pretty well. I was also there on the day he left and for the remained for the march 2009-march 2010 deployment. I will not name any other names though, other soldiers can if they want to.

    On June 29th we were at OP Mest for, what was to be, our last rotation at the COP. We replaced our 3rd platoon a few days prior and were getting ready to hand over control to the ANP that were with us on the too of the graveyard hill. The days before he left he asked me, “what would it be like to get lost in the mountains.” And, “would I get in trouble if I took soldier X’s 9mm with me if I hiked off to China?” At first I thought he was just being odd, because he is an odd person. In hindsight he was not being abstract and really asking for my input.

    Now, on to the questions on why did he leave. That I don’t really know, but I do know he was upset with how the deployment was going and he wanted to go on the offensive for once. I do not think he willingly joined the enemy, although there are reports saying that he is a Taliban commander. These reports have no credibility rating attached to them. IE. A1,B1,C1, etc. what I do know is that he left after his guard shift sometime and snuck out by crawling in a small area facing route Audi. This was confirmed by the locals at the school close to our outpost.

    We spent quite some time looking for him and so did almost everyone in RC East. It wasn’t a grand old time for any of us and there is a large pool of people to verify our story. If you want hard evidence you will have to get that de-classified through the army. If anyone shows that hard evidence it would be leaking secret and above information and I’m not about to go putting my freedom at risk to do so. Anyways, I don’t even have the ability to get said information anymore.

    I apologize for the massive amount of text, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to get a little more of the story out there. Getting him home to face a trial seems like a good idea, I suppose. Even though he’s a deserter he deserves a court martial and should face a penalty if legally convicted for what he did and the damage he caused.

    • Mr. Twisted

      February 19, 2014 at 12:25 pm

      Thanks for posting this, Gerald.

    • leftoftheboom

      February 19, 2014 at 7:39 pm

      Concur with Mr. Twisted; Thanks for posting Gerald.

    • Mark Regan

      June 7, 2014 at 5:40 pm

      My name is Mark Regan, a draftee from grad school and a rifleman – RTO
      in 2nd platoon, Bravo/1/501 (then in the 101st), from 1969 to 1970.

      To Gerald Sutton and the rest of your compatriots who kept the faith,
      maintaining your honor in difficult duty times, my thanks. To those
      who did not, shame.

  18. will

    February 21, 2014 at 12:07 am

    I was in paktika province when this happened and remember hearing about this. Everyone was talking about it. I heard he left everything but a knife and a water canteen and just walked off the fob like Rambo or something. I guess he was being treated unfairly by his unit or something and that’s why he left. Still no excuse to abandon your post. Still hope they find him. He may not want to be found now due to the fact he’ll still be held prisoner by us.

  19. kill kill we will

    February 25, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    I hope hes dead which he probably is, I was in his brigade, thankfully not his battalion anyone with a half a brain who made it as far as afghanistan knows not to walk off with nothing in hand. Yes many people died looking for this terd

  20. leftoftheboom

    June 3, 2014 at 8:50 am

    You know, just when you thought this story could not get any more surreal, in steps the President with the deal of the century. And since this exchange took place, there have been loud arguments, some for, others against and it has all turned into a mass of moral outrage on both sides of the debate.

    I am glad he is back. Now we need to investigate how he got there, what he thought he was doing, why he did what he did, and if he is found to be culpable in his situation, he should also be held accountable for those who died trying to recover him that would not have been at risk if he had remained at his post. The truth is out there; it should be discovered, published, and consequences applied.

    1. Okay he is free, yay team. Obama gets a “win” in his column for regaining the only POW service member in captivity. But let’s start the debate there shall we. Is the illustrious SGT Bergdahl a POW? We know only that he appears to be one. If we have to wait until we get all the facts about how he left his base, then we should also wait before assigning him the title of POW. The reason for that, while I am willing to walk out on a limb and state that no military member ever wants to be a POW, there are some very defined benefits that go with that determination and SGT Bergdahl should not receive any of them until the entire truth is out. If for instance, he was a deserter and voluntarily put himself in his assumed predicament, then he was not in fact a POW. Binary solution set.

    2. I doubt that he will be tried for anything. Numerous senior military individuals and the President have stated that 5 years in enough punishment. Really? We there goes accountability for any behavior. What damage will not performing an adequate investigation do? That is speculative but it can lead to any individual on the extreme edge of things, to feel more liberated to perform actions that they might not have otherwise done. This is about discipline nothing more. Any time leadership fails to enforce the standards, especially in a high profile case we run the likely hood, as an increased percentage, that we are going to have future discipline problems because someone will believe that they can get away with something since SGT Bergdahl did. It is not a rational line of thought but the individuals I am speaking about are rarely rational.

    3. Now to the exchange, nicely done Mr. President. There have been many splitting of hairs on this issue, so many in fact that rabbits should be extinct by now. The Taliban is not recognized by the State Department as a Terror Group. As such they are the quasi enemy in our story and historically we do realize prisoners in exchange and repatriate them. The Haqqi Network Is on the Terror list and they were the ones who were actually holding the illustrious SGT Bergdahl. Qatar, which is a nation with little real reason to enforce anything we ask for, has graciously been the go between in this exchange. So the government states that they did not negotiate with terrorist. Just because you don’t actually speak to someone in the organization and you use go between, does not mean you were not negotiation with them. Otherwise, there would be no accessories to crimes at all.

    4. It is true that military personnel are always a high priority target for capture and or killing. But capture did not usually gain any true value beyond propaganda. While it sucks for the soldier, the best defense is to not give them any more than we have to because the denial of further benefit, increases the safety to the rest of the military and that increase is not an inconsiderable achievement. With the exchange of notable leaders in the Taliban, which by the way, they were captured and sent to Guantanamo because they were not legal combatants, now sends a message that a capture will definitely get you more than just propaganda. In addition, it removed the credibility of the Office of President to ever refuse to put that exchange possibility back off the table. Once done, it is now permissible. The Current President is a lame duck and as such will likely never face this situation before he leaves office, but he might since we have troops all over the world, and he has now established an official policy that he is willing to negotiate anything. And any predecessors will be held to the same standard.
    And that ladies and gents is why giving up the baddies for SGT Bergdahl is such a bad, bad idea. We could have leveled a city with direct force and I would have been okay with that and it would have been a mission true from a position of strength. We could have started a new war with Pakistan and I would have gone just to get him back because it would have been the right political way to approach the issue, but we should have done it 5 years ago when he first went missing.

    Now, glad he is back, I want to know what happened and if he is culpable in lives lost, I don’t want him declared a POW until those questions are answered. And I hope all military personnel understand that now, the risk to them, peacetime or otherwise is now greater….unless you are a marine in Mexico. But he got himself into trouble too. We will have to see what the Mexicans want in exchange in 5 years.

  21. Mikeforpresident

    June 5, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    As an active duty member I agree that no man should be left behind, but I disagree in trading people.
    The PRESIDENT’s choice just raised the price on every U.S. Service members head to 5 terrorists given some patience. At a time of drawing down our forces, this will have consequences. Send all the search teams in the world but we are not trading cards.

  22. Brock

    June 6, 2014 at 9:57 am

    I’ll preempt this with the fact that I am a former special operations soldier with multiple combat tours from ’02-’05. Unfortunately, our country, yet again, has weakened. Do not negotiate directly or indirectly, with terrorist organizations. Isn’t that what our government has preached for years? Furthermore, how we have fought feverishly since 9/11, against these same individuals and groups that wish nothing more than to do us harm and destroy our way of life? That being said….

    He’s back in US custody. Yay….let’s watch as our flounder in chief puts this all aside and gives him a heroe’s welcome home (ala a female POW “hero” from a few yrs ago – which also cost lives and resources due to failure to perform basic military duties), with full military benefits and awards that military retirees and veterans that fought long, hard, and honorably for, yet still cannot get – to this very day – many years later in most instances. Surely he’ll be rushed to head of the line at the VA, while other, less notable soldiers of 100% good credibility with honorable discharges and no questionable actions die, simply while waiting for basic health services. I can only imagine, given the trade of 5 confirmed terrorists lives for 1 American soldier’s life, those being traded away also being responsible for thousands of American casualties and deaths….will lead to no repercussions for this “Sgt”, “POW”, whatever title many of you want to honor him with. It IS however,an honor – and respect is owed, to all honorably served(ing) soldiers, especially NCO’s and Officers, but none more than POW’s and our dead or wounded brothers/sisters in arms.

    Yes, we fight, harder than any other military, to protect and recover our wounded, fallen, and missing soldiers under any circumstances. That doesn’t mean it always works out well or is the most righteous of endeavors. Maybe it’s because the media in this once great nation has gripped ahold of us all like a vice, shoveling negativity and horrific events down our throat with an unmitigating force that we believe everything we hear and treat it as gospel. I don’t know, but your opinions are just that. Just because you have one, doesn’t mean possessing a phone or keyboard means you should post it! Few know the facts, even fewer wanna hear them, because that will most likely challenge the foundation of the opinions we form, and consequently, determine the necessary and appropriate level of recourse appropriate to uphold justice for those accountable. Even if he is found to truly be innocent, or mentally ill/unstable/suffering from PTSD/whatever else!….he still needs to be held accountable for his actions. His actions cost lives, injured fellow American soldiers, and diverted resources and manpower from otherwise, more important missions. By all accounts, he failed with epic fervor when it comes to military basics!
    Army General Orders:
    1. I will guard everything within the limits of my post and quit my post only when properly relieved.
    2. I will obey my special orders and perform all of my duties in a military manner.
    3. I will report violations of my special orders, emergencies, and anything not covered in my instructions to the commander of the relief.

    Pretty sure that covers his failure to perform his duties and responsibilities. Furthermore, abandoning your post is considered an act of TREASON during a time of war – yes, we’re still at war! Punishable up to death….
    For everyone on here that has not served, take your thoughts and opinions over to facebook and spam the shit out of some cat memes if you cannot handle the topic of desertion and traitorous acts.
    I’m glad for his family and friends that he was returned….but saddened that he was not recovered. Because at this point, he has cost us far more than he will ever be able to repay. Our money and resources are obviously of little consequence to our government, however our credibility as a nation, power as a military force, and our drive and determination to overcome and succeed, no matter what the challenge….has been irrevocably undermined and will henceforth be forever challenged.

  23. Mark Regan

    June 7, 2014 at 8:50 am

    My name is Mark Regan. I was a member of 2nd platoon, Bravo/1/501 during 1969-1970 (then part of the 101st Airborne) – rifleman and RTO.

    Thank you, Gerald Sutton, and the rest of your fellow soldiers who
    kept the faith and showed dedication to your duty. Eternal shame on
    those who did not.

  24. spider hole monkey

    June 9, 2014 at 12:49 am

    He was never classified a deserter. To be a deserter you have to leave with no intention of returning after being gone 30 days. As he was captured soon after taking a walk the level of intent cant be determined. As this guy was tortured and anally raped by a bunch of terrorist nut jobs for 5 years. I say just give him a discharge and let him go home.

    No fan fare no medals just a bus ticket home.He was disillusioned with the military in Emails big deal. Many men in Vietnam were disillusioned and did acts much worse than his maybe act of taking an illegal walk. Some shot themselves just to stay out of the bush. Some have purple hearts and bronze stars for self inflicted wounds. He has to live with himself and those Vietnam soldiers have to live with themselves.

    • lee

      June 13, 2014 at 9:23 am

      I agree, he has paid his price. I actually do not necessarily condemn him if he deserted due to objecting to the war in principle. I am disillusioned by this ‘war’ myself. What a pointless war.

      But that is beside the point. I will not behave in a manner that is not consistent with my belief system and values. I will not fight in a war that I do not believe in and I have little respect for someone who does. I believe it takes courage to stand by ones principles. While I think this war is a farce perpetuated by self interested politicians, I support both those people who fight in it and those who choose not to, provided each has made a conscious decision that is consistent with their beliefs and values. I would not condemn BOWE Bergdahl for deserting provided he came to this action due to a deep conviction that this war was wrong and not consistent with his belief system. However, desertion for reasons of cowardice or treasonous intent, I would condemn.

  25. billy

    June 13, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Wow! This is exactly how Francis Gary Powers was treated during The U-2 Spy Plane Incident. The beauacracy condemed him just as the U.S.S.R. did with the exception of him being sentenced to prison there. At the time,operatives were also provided a Cyanide capsule to take their own lives if shot down and you survived and wound before you were captured. Because Francis Gary Powers did not take his own life he was called a coward,double agent etc. But the truth of the matter is he believed OUR fellow brother’s in arms would bring him home. HE BELIEVED IN US!!!!! Before anyone point’s the finger at Sgt.Bergdahl just stop and consider that he too just might not be a bad soldier, nor a bad person. I am a lot older than most who will read this, and hell yes I am a combat veteran and I have seen what it can do to a kid that joined up for the right reason but his heart just wasn’t prepared for what he saw with his own eye’s!

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