PHOTO: A U.S. Soldier patrols though the village of Yayah Khel, which is where Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl went missing.
On Saturday evening, May 31st, 2014, PopularMilitary.com posted on its Facebook page about Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s release from Taliban captivity. The post read: “Welcome home, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl!!! Incredible news from Afghanistan: The only remaining POW from the Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts has been released after almost 5 years in captivity. See story at https://popularmilitary.com/u-s-announces-release-of-army-sgt-bowe-bergdahl-by-afghan-captors/“. Within minutes the post erupted with a mixture of both congratulations and calls for his court martial and a trip to Fort Leavenworth.
At issue, in part, are the events surrounding his capture, an email Bowe sent to his parents right before his capture, and a bizarre post his father recently made on Twitter.
Some accounts say that Bergdahl deserted his post near the border in Afghanistan while on duty with the Army’s 501st Infantry Regiment. Accounts vary from that he fell behind on a patrol, that he was captured from a latrine, or that he simply walked away from his post.
His email to his parents read, according to Rolling Stone: “The future is too good to waste on lies. And life is way too short to care for the damnation of others, as well as to spend it helping fools with their ideas that are wrong. I have seen their ideas and I am ashamed to even be american. The horror of the self-righteous arrogance that they thrive in. It is all revolting.”
The Twitter posting made by Bowe Bergdahl’s father (photo right), according to Twitchy.com, reads: “@ABalkhi I am still working to free all Guantanamo prisoners. God will repay for the death of every Afghan child, ameen!” ABalkhi is reportedly the Twitter handle of Abdulqahar Balkhi, a Taliban spokesman. Perhaps the post was just a father doing everything he could to keep his son alive, or perhaps it shows some signs of collusion with the Taliban. The posting has since been deleted.
Follower reaction at PopularMilitary.com’s Facebook site was swift. Within minutes, Tasha Smith posted the following:
Forwarded from Jeff Howard. “We were at OP Mest, Paktika Province, Afghanistan. It was a small outpost where B Co 1-501st INF (Airbone) ran operations out of, just an Infantry platoon and ANA counterparts there. The place was an Afghan graveyard. Bergdahl had been acting a little strange, telling people he wanted to “walk the earth” and kept a little journal talking about how he was meant for better things. No one thought anything about it. He was a little “out there”. Next morning he’s gone. We search everywhere, and can’t find him. He left his weapon, his kit, and other sensitive items. He only took some water, a compass and a knife. We find some afghan kids shortly after who saw an american walking north asking about where the taliban are. We get hits on our voice intercepter that Taliban has him, and we were close. We come to realize the kid deserted his post, snuck out of camp and sought out Taliban… to join them. We were in a defensive position at OP Mest, where your focus is to keep people out. He knew where the blind spots were to slip out and that’s what he did. It was supposed to be a 4-day mission but turned into several months of active searching. Everyone was spun up to find this guy. News outlets all over the country were putting out false information. It was hard to see, especially when we knew the truth about what happened and we lost good men trying to find him. PFC Matthew Michael Martinek, Staff Sgt. Kurt Robert Curtiss, SSG Clayton Bowen, PFC Morris Walker, SSG Michael Murphrey, 2LT Darryn Andrews, were all KIA from our unit who died looking for Bergdahl. Many others from various units were wounded or killed while actively looking for Bergdahl. Fighting Increased. IEDs and enemy ambushes increased. The Taliban knew that we were looking for him in high numbers and our movements were predictable. Because of Bergdahl, more men were out in danger, and more attacks on friendly camps and positions were conducted while we were out looking for him. His actions impacted the region more than anyone wants to admit. There is also no way to know what he told the Taliban: Our movements, locations, tactics, weak points on vehicles and other things for the enemy to exploit are just a few possibilities. The Government knows full well that he deserted. It looks bad and is a good propaganda piece for the Taliban. They refuse to acknowledge it. Hell they even promoted him to Sergeant which makes me sick. I feel for his family who only want their son/brother back. They don’t know the truth, or refuse to acknowledge it as well. What he did affected his family and his whole town back home, who don’t know the truth. Either way what matters is that good men died because of him. He has been lying on all those Taliban videos about everything since his “capture”. If he ever returns, he should be tried under the UCMJ for being a deserter and judged for what he did. Bergdahl is not a hero, he is not a soldier or an Infantryman. He failed his brothers. Now, sons and daughters are growing up without their fathers who died for him and he will have to face that truth someday.”
My take is he deserted his post in combat. Court Martial and Leavenworth. And since when do we negotiate with terrorists?
Rick Hyatt posted “Welcome home. Now its time for your court martial and jail time….traitor and deserter.”
Bryan Duke posted “Lol at the people calling him hero. You should be calling the ones that died looking for his ass a hero.”
Others were more forgiving, at least for now, including Joni Davidson Bates who posted “Welcome home soldier! We dont know what he went through-we dont know what he has seen or endured, nor do we know his mental stability or instability at the time, we shouldnt judge, wait for the facts. What we do know is he is an American Soldier, one of the few, the beret he is wearing tells you he was one of the finest. He went and did what many wont do, he volunteered to enter the service. Im sure he has lived a life of hell for the past 5 years. God Bless him, im very happy for his family!”
Bowe Bergdahl is reportedly on his way back to the United States. Bowe’s father reports that Bowe is having trouble speaking English, having spent the last almost five years speaking Pashto. A long rehabilitation awaits for Bowe. Perhaps in the future we will learn more about his captivity, including an account from Bowe himself. For now, here at PopularMilitary.com, we are happy the captivity is over, for Bowe, his family and all the people, including our military personnel, who worked for his safe return. We will continue to follow this story and update as new information becomes available.
See PopularMilitary.com’s initial Facebook posting by clicking here.