On the morning of July 1, 2009 troops at Observation Post Mest noticed one of their own to be missing. During the night, Private First Class Robert Bowdrie “Bowe” Bergdahl left his post without permission and without informing his superiors. He did this, leaving behind his weapon and body armor, but only after he had mailed his uniform, computer, and some books back home to his parents. It was while on his late-night stroll that Bowe Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban. On this episode of Flash Past, Lyle and Dan discuss some of the circumstances surrounding his desertion, captivity, release, and subsequent backlash of each.
The discussion over Sgt. Bergdahl’s motives can follow one of two paths. Either Bergdahl was a coward and a deserter who abandoned his post and his country with the intention of joining up with the very men he had come to Afghanistan to fight, or he was a brave soldier and a patriot who left his unit under the cover of darkness so that he could report the wrongdoings of his compatriots.
The undisputable facts of the incident are few, as the only people who truly know what happened are Sgt. Bergdahl and the soldiers he supposedly left with the intention of reporting. Conjecture and hearsay make up the remainder of the narrative, on both sides.
There are several highly charged points along the route from Bergdahl’s service with the U.S. Coast Guard, from which he was released after only 26 days of service, and his release from Taliban captivity – after being traded for 5 high-level Taliban prisoners being held at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. Should he be dishonorably discharged or should he receive $300,000 in back pay and full benefits? Dan and Lyle talk about all of the highlights, no matter which way the flag is flying. Have a listen.
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