Then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen admitted that Bowe Berghdal was a deserter, and said that he did not know why the military was focusing so much energy on trying to save him, according to one of Bergdahl’s platoon mates.
“The joint chief of staff, Admiral Mullen at the time. He came out to our unit and had Thanksgiving dinner, and he said, ‘Yeah he walked off, everybody knows he walked off, I don’t know why they’re trying to’” pretend that he didn’t, Bergdahl’s former infantry roommate Cody Full told The Daily Caller. (RELATED: Bergdahl Was A Deserter, Fellow Soldiers Say)
President Obama currently faces formal condemnation from Congress for illegally releasing five senior Taliban leaders from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Bergdahl, who left his post near Afghanistan’s Pakistan border in 2009 and was captured by the Taliban and Haqqani terrorist network. The revelation that the military’s senior leader knew about Bergdahl’s desertion years in advance creates new questions about Obama’s conduct. Bergdahl recently returned to active duty with a desk job in San Antonio, Texas.
Bergdahl’s platoon searched for him at the expense of all other duties for more than two months, checking cars in an IED-strewn environment where villagers routinely hid the existence of anti-American insurgents.
“For us, we knew right away we were looking for him on our outpost, up to battalion level knew he had walked off,” Bergdahl platoon mate Matt Vierkant told TheDC, noting that a missing soldier alert was immediately sent out. “We knew he wasn’t taken, he walked off. Some children said he was crawling through the reeds.” (RELATED: US Knew Bowe Bergdahl Had Deserted, Investigated Him)
“Maybe 2 or 3 days later I heard that he had been picked up by a village a couple miles away from us,” Vierkant said. “More information would come out each day. ‘Stop this type of car, because he could be in this type of car.’ It was a huge mission at that time. In the first month, thousands of people tried to find him…special forces, aircraft.” (RELATED: Army Investigation: Bergdahl Search Left Outpost Vulnerable To Brutal Attack)
“It definitely distracted. It was the mission for a month straight. For the second month we’re looking for Bergdahl specifically looking in these cars. Do anything we can to aid getting him back…[The search] never stops the whole time you’re there… it was most intense for 90 days then after that I’m sure with the lack of intel it probably only got pushed to special operations units.”
Bergdahl’s desertion was believed to have been caused by boredom, not shame in his country’s military efforts, which he cited in letters home to his parents. (RELATED: Afghan Villagers Recount Encounters With Bergdahl)
“He had expressed that he was upset because he wanted us to do more. More aggressive missions,” Vierkant said. “It wasn’t all he thought it was going to be…he sent emails back home to his parents completely 180 degrees different than what he was saying to us.”
“Once we got to Afghanistan he started voicing some concerns that he didn’t like what we were doing over there,” Full said. “We were doing humanitarian stuff. Delivering blankets, trying to appeal to hearts and minds instead of seeking out and trying to destroy the Taliban. He wanted to do more infantry stuff at that point. He brought up some concerns to our team leader and squad leader that he wanted to focus more on killing the Taliban than what we’re doing. They said you’re just kind of a private and these are orders instructed to us from higher ups.”