Now that Bowe Bergdahl has been charged with Desertion and Misbehavior Before the Enemy, let’s shine a light on the eight men who died in the aftermath of Bergdahl’s abandonment of duty. Bergdahl left his post without his weapons on the night of June 30, 2009. (For information on the charges against Bergdahl, visit here.)
…a wave of insurgents attacked the joint U.S./Afghan outpost at Zerok,” killing two U.S. soldiers. This attack came after four days of searches “enraged the local civilian population and derailed the counterinsurgency operations taking place at the time.”…”Officers at Zerok blamed Bergdahl for Fairbairn and Casillas’ deaths.” …
Our battalion suffered six fatalities in a three-week period.
On August 18, an IED killed Private First Class Morris Walker and Staff Sergeant Clayton Bowen during a reconnaissance mission.
On August 26, while conducting a search for a Taliban shadow sub-governor supposedly affiliated with Bergdahl’s captors, Staff Sergeant Kurt Curtiss was shot in the face and killed.
On September 4, during a patrol to a village near the area in which Bergdahl vanished, an insurgent ambush killed Second Lieutenant Darryn Andrews and gravely wounded Private First Class Matthew Martinek, who died of his wounds a week later.
On September 5, while conducting a foot movement toward a village also thought affiliated with Bergdahl’s captors, Staff Sergeant Michael Murphrey stepped on an improvised land mine. He died the next day. ~ Bradley Bethea as reported at Breitbart
And that the truth is: Bergdahl was a deserter, and soldiers from his own unit died trying to track him down.
On the night prior to his capture, Bergdahl pulled guard duty at OP Mest, a small outpost about two hours south of the provincial capitol. The base resembled a wagon circle of armored vehicles with some razor wire strung around them. A guard tower sat high up on a nearby hill, but the outpost itself was no fortress. Besides the tower, the only hard structure that I saw in July 2009 was a plywood shed filled with bottled water. Soldiers either slept in poncho tents or inside their vehicles.
The next morning, Bergdahl failed to show for the morning roll call. The soldiers in 2nd Platoon, Blackfoot Company discovered his rifle, helmet, body armor and web gear in a neat stack. He had, however, taken his compass. His fellow soldiers later mentioned his stated desire to walk from Afghanistan to India.
Looking back on those first 12 weeks, our slice of the war in the vicinity of Sharana resembles a perfectly still snow-globe—a diorama in miniature of all the dust-coated outposts, treeless brown mountains and adobe castles in Paktika province—and between June 25 and June 30, all the forces of nature conspired to turn it over and shake it. On June 25, we suffered our battalion’s first fatality, a platoon leader named First Lieutenant Brian Bradshaw. Five days later, Bergdahl walked away.
His disappearance translated into daily search missions across the entire Afghanistan theater of operations, particularly ours. The combat platoons in our battalion spent the next month on daily helicopter-insertion search missions (called “air assaults”) trying to scour villages for signs of him. Each operations would send multiple platoons and every enabler available in pursuit: radio intercept teams, military working dogs, professional anthropologists used as intelligence gathering teams, Afghan sources in disguise. They would be out for at least 24 hours. I know of some who were on mission for 10 days at a stretch. In July, the temperature was well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit each day.
These cobbled-together units’ task was to search villages one after another. They often took rifle and mortar fire from insurgents, or perhaps just angry locals. They intermittently received resupply from soot-coated Mi-17s piloted by Russian contractors, many of whom were Soviet veterans of Afghanistan. It was hard, dirty and dangerous work. The searches enraged the local civilian population and derailed the counterinsurgency operations taking place at the time. At every juncture I remember the soldiers involved asking why we were burning so much gasoline trying to find a guy who had abandoned his unit in the first place. The war was already absurd and quixotic, but the hunt for Bergdahl was even more infuriating because it was all the result of some kid doing something unnecessary by his own volition.
Fox News reported that Bergdahl “left a note in his tent that said he was leaving to start a new life and intended to renounce his citizenship.
Bergdahl was deployed with the 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.
It’s time to gather in the White House Rose Garden, the parents, siblings and spouses of these men, lost trying to save Bowe Bergdahl’s skin. Time for a Rose Garden apology. UPDATE: See what these famous liberals said when Bergdahl was “rescued” by military doing their jobs.
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