After almost a year since he was released in a prisoner exchange in Afghanistan, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will face charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy it was announced on Wednesday.
The news first broke about the possible charges on Monday night when Lt. Col. Tony Schaffer told Bill O’Reilly on air that Bergdahl would face desertion charges. But, that revelation was not confirmed until Wednesday, when Bergdahl’s own lawyer and a source in Congress confirmed the charges.
Bergdahl’s release on May 31 of 2014, in exchange for five Taliban prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, stirred up a nation-wide controversy as U.S. lawmakers stated that the release was illegal in nature as the Taliban prisoners were released without the mandated 30-day notice to Congress. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, as well as Congressmen Buck McKeon and James Inhofe all also stated that the exchange would give terrorists more incentives to capture and hold more soldiers as prisoners.
Bergdahl walked off the base after his duty shift on June 30, 2009 according to the Department of Defense, and was soon captured by Taliban. Days prior to his leaving his unit, Bergdahl emailed his parents telling them in part, “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.” His email continued, “The US army is the biggest joke the world has to laugh at.”
It was reported by the New York Times that Bergdahl had left a note in his tent just before leaving, saying that he was leaving to start a new life and that he wanted to renounce his citizenship.That night would be the beginning of his captivity until his release in May of 2014.
Called a “quiet loner,” Bergdahl had first attempted to join the U.S. Coast Guard, but was released from that branch after only 26 days of basic training for psychological reasons. He would later join the Army, graduate from Infantry School in Fort Benning, then be attached to the 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division at Fort Richardson in Alaska. He deployed to Afghanistan in May of 2009, just one month before his disappearance.
At the time of his capture, Bergdahl was a Private 1st Class, but would receive a promotion to Specialist in June of 2010, and another promotion to Sergeant in June of 2011.
Since his release, Bergdahl was assigned duties at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas.
The U.S. Army has scheduled an announcement for Wednesday afternoon to reveal the official charges.