The Army is now determining whether Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is eligible to receive $300,000 in back pay for the time he spent in captivity in Afghanistan.
Bergdahl, who belonged to 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division walked off his post June 30, 2009, and was subsequently captured by the Taliban. He pleaded guilty in October to the charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. In a controversial decision, military judge Army Col. Jeffery Nance ruled Nov. 3 that Bergdahl shouldn’t serve any jail time, although he would be dishonorably discharged and reduced from sergeant to private.
Now, the Army is looking into whether Bergdahl is owed any basic and deployment pay accrued during his time in Taliban captivity, which could run as high as $300,000, Army Times reports.
But first, Army Gen. Robert Adams has to approve the judge’s decision. Only with approval can the Army begin to run through all the calculations of potential back pay over the last eight years, as legal proceedings beginning in 2014 put a pause to all talk of compensation. The decision not to hand down any jail time enraged President Donald Trump, who then called for Bergdahl’s execution.
“Based upon the results of trial, the Army is reviewing Sgt. Bergdahl’s pay and allowances,” Army Lt. Col. Randy Taylor told Army Times. “His final pay and allowances will be determined in accordance with DoD policy and Army regulation.”
It’s unclear whether Bergdahl will be considered a prisoner of war and compensated accordingly, given that he’s pleaded guilty to desertion and misbehavior. One possibility is that Bergdahl will receive basic pay for his time spent in captivity in Afghanistan, but not housing allowance, subsistence allowance or compensation paid specifically to prisoners.
It could also turn out that Bergdahl owes the Army money, if he’s not eligible for any money during captivity, or even if the Army finds out that it has overpaid Bergdahl since he’s been back in the U.S.
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