SGT Bowe Bergdhal Desertion Case; The Prosecution

WMMOA member COL US Army (Ret) Vanessa Berry, a Judge Advocate General Officer and the Officer in Charge of the Army’s prosecution of SGT Bowie Bergdahl, briefed 30 WMMOA members on the details of this very interesting case at our March Luncheon. COL Berry discussed Bergdahl’s earlier military experience and his desire to serve in the US Special Forces as well as a failed attempt to join the French Foreign Legion. An Infantryman, Bergdahl deployed to Afghanistan with a Brigade from the 25th Infantry Division based in Alaska. Once in Afghanistan, he did not support his Platoon’s mission and deserted his unit one evening. He was quickly captured by Taliban fighters and was held for almost five years. The US military conducted extensive searches for him as numerous military personnel put themselves at great risk during this time. The US government eventually exchanged Bergdahl for five Taliban prisoners and he was brought back to the United States where he was detained, questioned, and eventually courts-martialed for desertion. COL Berry provided an interesting summary of the legal challenges and public interest in Bergdahl’s case. Bergdahl pleaded guilty, was sentenced to a Dishonorable Discharge, reduction to PVT E-1 and forfeited $1,000 per month for 10 months. COL Berry continued our WMMOA tradition of providing interesting and educational speakers at our monthly luncheons and Social Hours.