Let me first state that I don't speak for everyone in the US military. This article is based on talks I have had with friends and family that have served or are serving. I myself am prior military having served in the US Army/ NJ national Gaurd. (91-94).
My first reaction upon hearing that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had been released can be summed up in two words.
Even though that was my initial thought I like many of my friends were a bit conflicted on his release. I am happy for his family that they get their son back. I can't help but feel happy for Bergdahl's mother and father.
But I still can't get away from the fact that Bergdahl deserted his post. I don't know if he was a traitor. I'm not sure if brave soldiers died looking for him after his disappearance but one thing that everyone seems to be able to agree upon is that he left his post.
When he left his post he left men who were supposed to be his brothers vulnerable and exposed to the enemy. He just left men whose lives were in his hands. Men that could have been sleeping, eating, praying, or just writing home were left unprotected because of Berdahl's actions.
In combat all soldiers have is each other and their faith. Trust is a must and Bergdahl violated that trust.
I believe that he should be brought up on charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for desertion. Now there are lesser charges he could face but he has to face charges.
We can not treat a man who most likely deserted his post with kid gloves and definitely not as a hero. Bergdahl is not a hero, he is far from it.
The men and women who serve every day and would never dream of deserting their post are the heroes. The men that went looking for their "brother" even though it was pretty obvious he had deserted are heroes. I salute those men and women.
I can not and I will not salute Bergdahl. If he is cleared after a military trial then my mind will change but until then I have no respect for the man.
George L. Cook III