In this day of increased appreciation for service members, we are hearing a lot of negative news about Bowe Bergdahl, now that he has been freed. It makes sense to me that we have this discussion after he has been freed. I am happy that he is free of his captors. The Taliban are not nice people. But, the soldier sounds emotionally unstable to me. Reports say that he walked away from his unit at the National Training Center in California. His unit rotated through the NTC as part of its train-up for the deployment to Afghanistan. The NTC is in the middle of the Mojave Desert. A person does not just "wander off" at the NTC. The nearest paved road is 20-30 mles away. The nearest town of any size is 60 plus miles away.
I once had a soldier volunteer to rotate through the NTC with another unit. He was normally a good soldier, but perhaps not "all there." He apparently did not like his unit or the duty he was performing. He left his unit at the NTC. He walked away from hundreds of dollars of gear for which he was responsible. He made it to a road and hitchhiked to a far away town. There are no towns near the NTC. All towns are far away. When he got back to his hometown, he went to a mental hospital. People do not just wander off at the NTC.
One of Bowe Bergdahl’s platoon members said he just left the unit in Afghanistan. He took his compass and left behind his rifle, helmet and Kevlar vest. The platoon member, Gerald Sutton, used the word "deserted." Mr. Sutton used the word "deserted" several times. But, to desert in a war zone suggests a lack of mental competence. In Iraq and Afghanistan, to leave your FOB (Forward Operating Base) is tantamount to suicide. U.S. soldiers cannot simply blend in with the crowd at your local Afghan village. Something is not right with Sgt. Bergdahl. I would expect him to be prosecuted or placed in a mental hospital.