By Ann Rowland
The report on the Army investigation into how Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl became a Taliban prisoner is expected next month. Once that report is released, Bergdahl would like to leave the military and return to civilian life. He currently is on active duty at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas.
The U.S. gained Bergdahl’s release this past May by agreeing to a prisoner swap with Bergdahl’s captors. The release of the five Taliban prisoners sparked outrage among many who believe that Bergdahl deserted his unit and was then captured by the Taliban and held for 5 years. Army General Major General Kenneth Dahl was originally given 60 days from his June 16th appointment to finish his investigation, however, he has been granted an extension.
Eugene Fidell, Bergdahl’s attorney, told Reuters “He is ready to move on to the next chapter of his life. He would like to get a college education.”
Bergdahl’s desire to move past this chapter of his life is not a surprise to his attorney. “People who have had this kind of experience, in my understanding, tend not to remain in the service. It is time for Sergeant Bergdahl to just become plain old Bowe Bergdahl and move on with his life.”
Whether or not he will be eligible for veteran’s benefits to pay for his college education is dependent on the recommendations of General Major Dahl. Dahl’s recommendation based on the outcome of his investigation could include any of the following: no punishment and an honorable discharge; an administrative punishment like loss of rank or a less than honorable discharge; or court martial on criminal charges. Any punishment resulting from the investigation could affect Bergdahl’s eligibility for veteran’s benefits.
“I would certainly like for him to receive his veterans’ benefits, of course,” Fidell said.
Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban in June 2009 after being separated from his unit. He was captured by the Taliban a short while later. There are differing accounts as to what actually occurred and that is the reason for the Army investigation. Bergdahl, now 28, was sent to San Antonio after his release for reintegration training and is currently serving in a desk job.