So, the other shoe drops. Bowe Bergdahl may not have been appropriate for Army service, at all. It turns out that he had been in the Coast Guard before entering the Army. The Coast Guard kicked him out after 90 days. He was removed administratively. As most veterans know, that typically means he had some problem that kept him from being a good member of the service. Every arm of the military has an “early out” option for those members who may have appropriate motivation, but just cannot get the job done. A discharge for psychological reasons would render him generally unfit for the Army.

He left the Coast Guard after only 26 days of basic training. That is about as “early” as it gets when someone leaves the service early. As such, he would have needed a waiver to enter the Army. He joined the Army in 2008, when recruiting was not going well for the active Army. The Army was not meeting its recruiting goals at all in 2008. At the time, it was questionable whether the Army could rely on an all-volunteer Army for wars like those in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Army would not comment on whether he needed a waiver, but I am sure he did. See San Antonio Express-News report.

There is no excuse for leaving his post in a combat zone. But, it was also close to suicidal to walk out the gate with no weapon or helmet in Afghanistan. Sgt. Bergdahl was simply not mentally stable. As we would say in the Army, Sgt. Bergdahl appears to have been set up to fail.