Bow Bergdahl… An American Hero Returns Home

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, right, with James Cunningham, the American ambassador to Afghanistan, arrived at Bagram Air Base on Sunday. CreditPool photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais

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BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan — Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had departed for Landstuhl Medical Center in Germany eight hours before, but that did not stop Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel from taking a figurative victory lap around this base to celebrate the release of the lone remaining American prisoner of war in the Afghan conflict.

For Mr. Hagel, who made an unannounced stop in Afghanistan on Sunday, the release of Sergeant Bergdahl after five years in captivity marked the high point of his tenure so far as defense secretary, made doubly so by the fact that he is the first enlisted soldier to serve in the Pentagon’s top job.

Like Sergeant Bergdahl, Mr. Hagel was a sergeant as well, when he served in Vietnam. He has friends who were prisoners of war during that time, he said, including Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona.

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“When you can bring one of your own people home, when you think of what he has endured the last five years — my own experiences in Vietnam as we had POWs taken,” Mr. Hagel told reporters aboard his flight to Afghanistan, appearing to struggle for words. “I am intensely happy and gratified.”

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Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl recounted his capture and desire to rejoin to his girlfriend and family in the United States in a video released by the Taliban a month after he was taken prisoner.

CreditUncredited/US Army, via Associated Press

He said that he was particularly struck by the fact that unlike Mr. McCain and other prisoners of war who knew there were other American prisoners nearby even when they were in solitary confinement, Sergeant Bergdahl was alone, bereft of any solace that could come from knowing there were fellow soldiers close by who were in the same situation. “In this case, Bergdahl was by himself,” Mr. Hagel said. “As far as we know, there were no other Americans.”

Even as new details were emerging about the operation to swap Sergeant Bergdahl for five detainees at Guantánamo Bay — the leader of the Special Forces team that whisked Sergeant Bergdahl by helicopter from the Pakistani border region had been in constant communication with the Taliban in the minutes leading up to the swap — Defense Department officials were also weighing the overall messiness of the case of Sergeant Bergdahl, who went missing from his unit five years ago, amid reports that he walked off his base voluntarily, in violation of Army regulations.

A senior Defense Department official indicated on Sunday that the Army would probably not be punishing the sergeant for any violations of rules. “Whatever he may have done, I think he’s more than paid for it,” the official said. “Five years is a long time.”

By the time Mr. Hagel arrived at Bagram on Sunday afternoon, the sergeant had been transported to Germany, as military officials and doctors determined that the sooner they got him out of Afghanistan, the better. Mr. Hagel said he planned to talk to Sergeant Bergdahl soon, but would not interfere with the sergeant’s recovery.

Responding to criticism that President Obama had bypassed Congress in releasing the Afghans from Guantánamo in exchange for Sergeant Bergdahl, Mr. Hagel said that the sergeant’s health was in serious jeopardy. “It was our judgment that if we could find an opening, we needed to get him out of there, essentially to save his life,” Mr. Hagel said.

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President Obama announced that Sgt. Bowe R. Bergdahl, who was captured by the Taliban nearly five years ago, had been recovered in exchange for five prisoners. The sergeant’s parents also spoke.

CreditJonathan Ernst/Reuters

But there was some ambivalence among the troops waiting in a hangar at Bagram to hear from Mr. Hagel on Sunday. “Releasing five Taliban for one — I don’t know about that,” said Coast Guard Petty Officer Second Class Matthew McGlynn, 23, of Williamstown, N.J. “This isn’t a conventional war that we’re fighting. I’m not sure it’s an even exchange.”

Sitting next to him, Coast Guard Petty Officer First Class Kurt Tomcavage, 28, disagreed. “I’m just happy he can get back to his family,” he said. Asked about reports that Sergeant Bergdahl had walked away from his base five years ago, Petty Officer Tomcavage just shook his head.

“He’s still an American citizen,” he said.

A few minutes later, Mr. Hagel walked into the hangar to address the troops. He had just spent five minutes meeting with more than a dozen members of Special Operations units who were involved in the operation to retrieve Sergeant Bergdahl. A senior Defense official said that Mr. Hagel had thanked the forces, telling them that he was proud of what they do every day.

But his talk before the 200 or so troops in the hangar was subdued. The men and women sat quietly as Mr. Hagel spoke.

“This is a happy day,” he said. “We got one of our own back.”

Propaganda Video of Bowe R. Bergdahl, the U.S. Soldier Capture

Bowe Bergdahl Song (Bring Back Bowe)

President Obama Speaks on the Recovery of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl

Filed under: Hero, In The News, International, Justice/Injustice, Music, Photography, Politics, President Obama, Recognition, Terrorism, The "Let's Change the WORLD" Movement, Veterans, Videos, YouTube | Posted on June 1st, 2014 by DSource4U

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7 Responses to “Bow Bergdahl… An American Hero Returns Home”

  1. DSource4U Says:

    Welcome back Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl!

    And to the parents; I say “God bless you both for your love, commitment, faith, strength and wisdom! Bowe is truly blessed to have parents like you!” From the bottom of my heart, I say this!

    To the people of Sun Valley, ID. and surrounding areas, I say “Thank God for strong and patriotic communities like yours, who breed young men and women with superior strength, endurance and faith! We cannot forget that in a nation of large cities, that it is those in the Heartland who work exceptionally hard, living relatively simple, yet meaningful lives, who are responsible for the meat and vegetables on our tables, the wood that our furniture is built out of and the freedom that we enjoy! You are the heart of America!

    I will be sharing the good news today on our ‘Let’s Change the WORLD’ Talk Radio Show….

  2. Frank Denino Says:…/brothers-arms-bash-bowe…

    Brothers in arms bash Bowe Bergdahl as a traitor, say search for him cost American lives
    Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is no hero — he’s a cowardly deserter who put his fellow soldiers in danger, members of his platoon said.

  3. Alex J Montalvo Says:

    As a Veteran, Dale, then you would be familiar with General Orders and the Code of Conduct, yes?

  4. Dale Davis Says:

    Frank and Alex: Young men have hair brained ideas and young men also are quick to judge those who have them. I am sure this man is guilty of something. I’m just not sure if what he is guilty of is being A.W.O.L, Disertion or being an idiot or mentally ill.

    His peers (A bunch of young, gun-ho men) are surely going to rush to judgment, just like the people on this page are. All I’m saying is that just because a person looks guilty doesn’t make them guilty. They are innocent until proven guilty. That is all I am saying. It is wrong to judge this man in the Court of Public Opinion.

  5. Alex J Montalvo Says:

    Well said, and maybe he did just up and lose his marbles. Doubtful, but maybe. And I say that because there are too many accounts, too many incosistencies to say otherwise. My point is this: Under the UCMJ, it is a CRIME to willingly abandon your post. It does not say “it’s ok if you’re poopy faced, or had a bad day, or are ADD”. it does not say that. Therefore, he is to be tried by court martial, and then the law shall decide it. I have my beliefs, yes, because Ive been doing this for nearly 13 years. And I believe in what I do, and I believe being a Soldier is a profession, not a “job”. I only speak for myself, Dale, and as a fellow veteran I give you fair respect Dale Davis

  6. Kathy Sanders Says:

    When you left to get your rocks off, Im sure many men didn’t die trying to find you after you were captured. Afghanistan doesn’t have a town where you can be out and about whoring it around. Very different ball game there and thank your for your service Mr. Davis but the point is, he was captured because he left the base, he was not on patrol, in a convoy or in any other way doing his job. He left on his own free accord. You are not authorized to go and socialize with the locals while in country, nor are you authorized to leave base without someone knowing where your going, what your doing (trip ticket) and you don’t go out by yourself. This man who now holds the rank of Sergeant but hasn’t a fucking clue what a sergeant is, nor would I address him as one and only has this rank because the military had to give it to him, because of the POW status is still considered in my book a PFC. Sergeants lead men/women, the give them motivation, perspective, are to be looked up to and they are leader. By no means is Berghdahl a leader but a coward. What justifiable answer could he give to just up and leave? Berghdahl should face punishment over his crimes and I hope the system is just in this matter. He isn’t a hero. Those who fought to find him and died to find him are the hero’s. Men who’s selfless sacrifice to ensure he was found, to never return home to see their families are the one who we need to celebrate.

  7. Dale Davis Says:

    Kathy, Alex and others: There are two issues here.

    Issue one, which is guilt or innocence: All I’m saying is that in this country, a man is innocent until proven guilty; even in the military. And even in the military, a defense to guilt can be Mental Illness. I am saying one simple thing, when it comes to guilt or innocence: If this man is guilty of something, it could be one of many things and we do not have enough evidence to say which one. And it is not our business to judge him. It is the business of the US Army, under the appropriate article (s) of the UCMJ. We need to let those who have the responsibility of judging him, do there job. In this country, the US of A, a man is innocent until proven guilty.

    Issue two, which is forgiveness and compassion: If and or when this man is found guilty of a crime, which is yet to be seen; then those who are responsible for sentencing him will do the sentencing. Now, depending on what he is found guilty of, rather A.W.O.L., Disertion, being a Traitor or any of a host of things he could be charged with, then the punishment should fit the crime. I, personally, have lived long enough and have been blessed to see life from perspectives that many others have not. Because of this, I can, sometimes, be more compassionate than others. I know first hand how pressure, stress, mental illness and other factors can lead to mistakes and errors in judgment, bad decisions and even temporary insanity; especially in a young man and especially under conditions of war. Sometimes, people do things with good intentions, that turn out bad. I have done the same and have been jailed for it.

    I simply don’t believe in sentencing a person before we know what he is guilty of and what his intent was. And that is exactly what this page is doing. And it is wrong… And if he is guilty of something, then one must ask if he has paid for it. I am often against holding the mistakes young men make against them for the rest of their lives. I think those who have the responsibility, including qualified Mental Specialist will need to judge his intent, the suffering he has endured afterwards and the grief he has for what he has done, if he has done something wrong. And if he is truly sorry and if he has truly suffered, then I can find forgiveness in my heart. Who am I to not be able to forgive someone who God is willing to forgive? I suspect this man will suffer the rest of his life for his error in judgment or moment of weakness on one given day of his young life. Depending on the facts, which we do not yet know, I can possibly find mercy in my heart. We have all made errors in judgment and have had moments of weakness; under much easier circumstances, ourselves. Fortunately, the consequences weren’t as grave; but they could have been. When the woman was guilty of Adultry, Jesus said: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Which is easier? To quote God’s Wisdom or to abide by it?

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