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Old 12-22-2015, 03:50 AM   #1
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Default Bergdahl to be arraigned on charges including desertion

FORT BRAGG, N.C. U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who disappeared in Afghanistan in 2009 and was held by the Taliban for five years, was scheduled to appear Tuesday before a military judge on charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

Bergdahl to be arraigned on charges including desertion
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Old 12-25-2015, 04:16 PM   #2
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The continuing saga of Bowe Bergdahl...

SEAL: How a Failed Mission to Rescue Bergdahl Caused Irreparable Loss
Dec 24, 2015 | The juxtaposition of two American military men who could stand in the same courtroom in the coming months couldn't be set in more stark relief.
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl faces a general court-martial for walking off of his base in eastern Afghanistan in 2009. Bergdahl spent five years in Taliban captivity, where he was tormented, before being freed in a controversial prisoner exchange last year. Jimmy Hatch, a Navy SEAL senior chief who led a platoon into a fierce battle to try to rescue Bergdahl, was shot and badly wounded on that mission. Beside him, service dog Remco lay mortally wounded, after running through a hail of bullets at two Taliban fighters hiding in a ditch, exposing their whereabouts. Bergdahl is charged with not only desertion but also misbehavior before the enemy -- an archaic, rarely used charge that includes "endangering safety of a command, unit, place, ship, or military property" and has a maximum penalty of life in prison. It could help answer the question of whether Bergdahl betrayed his country intentionally or should be viewed as acting as a result of mental health problems.

Navy SEAL James Hatch with his dog Spike, a Belgian Malinois multi-purpose canine

Military officials won't confirm or deny the 2009 mission was a search for Bergdahl. An Army spokesman said Tuesday that the service maintains the position stated by then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in 2014 that he did not know of any specific "circumstances or details of U.S. soldiers dying as a result of efforts to find and rescue Sgt. Bergdahl." An Army investigator and an officer who presided over Bergdahl's preliminary hearing earlier this year both recommended he be spared a general court-martial and prison time. But no one has denied servicemembers were hurt as a result of the search and an Army commander last week ruled against the investigator's recommendation and ordered Bergdahl face a general court-martial.

Hatch, his femur shattered, went through 18 surgeries in two years. He lost his military career and suffered from debilitating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He nearly took his own life. His fate inextricably tied to Bergdahl's, Hatch said he would readily testify if he is called upon. "I would tell them about the sacrifices of the group of individuals that went out with me on the night I was wounded," Hatch said. "About the risks they took on behalf of Mr. Bergdahl because of his decisions. "I would like Mr. Bergdahl and his family to hear what his decisions did to me and my family. I'd like to tell him about my injuries and about the difficulties my family and I continue to have."

The Rescue Mission
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Some Military Discharges Mean No Benefits after Service Ends
Dec 24, 2015 -- No medical or mental health care. No subsidized college or work training. For many who leave the U.S. military with less-than-honorable discharges, including thousands who suffered injuries and anguish in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, standard veterans benefits are off limits.
The discharge serves as a scarlet letter of dishonor, and the effects can be severe: Ex-military members with mental health problems or post-traumatic stress disorder can't turn to Veterans Affairs hospitals or clinics; those who want to go to college aren't eligible for the GI Bill; the jobless get no assistance for career training; the homeless are excluded from vouchers. "It's an indelible mark of their service that follows them for the rest of their lives into the workforce, through background checks, social relationships, and it precludes them from getting the kind of support that most veterans enjoy," said Phil Carter, an Iraq War vet and senior fellow at the Center for A New American Security. The Department of Defense said of nearly 207,000 people who left the military last year, just 9 percent received what's referred to as "bad paper." Still, that's more than 18,000 people last year and more than 352,000 since 2000, Defense Department data shows.

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, a Colorado Republican who's on the House Armed Services Committee, believes many of those men and women suffered battle-related problems that affected their behavior, especially PTSD and traumatic brain injury. A 2005 study showed Marines deployed to combat who were diagnosed with PTSD were 11 times more likely to receive less-than-honorable discharges, said Brad Adams, an attorney who works with the San Francisco-based organization Swords to Plowshares. Varying levels of bad paper discharges exist. A general discharge is for those whose service was generally satisfactory, but who engaged in minor misconduct or received non-judicial punishment. Recipients are usually eligible for VA medical and dental services, VA home loans and burial in national cemeteries, but can't receive educational benefits through the GI Bill. Virtually no post-military benefits are available below that level.

Josh Redmyer, a former Marine who served three tours in Iraq, poses with Milo, who he calls his "therapy dog," in Oroville, Calif.

An other-than-honorable discharge is an administrative action for those with behavior problems such as violence or use of illegal drugs. A bad conduct discharge is punishment for a military crime, and dishonorable discharges are for offenses such as murder or desertion. With those discharges, the VA doesn't consider the former service members veterans for the purposes of VA benefits. "There is a small percentage of folks who were court-martialed and convicted, and they have earned their bad paper," Carter said. "The vast majority of this population was discharged administratively, generally because of some minor misconduct."

Maj. Ben Sakrisson, a Defense Department spokesman, said there is "substantial due process" for all cases where people receive a less-than-honorable discharge. Its statistics show that last year, 4,143 service members received other-than-honorable discharges, 637 received bad conduct discharges and 157 were dishonorably discharged. Once people are discharged, the Department of Veterans Affairs can extend medical and mental health benefits on a case-by-case basis to those whose disabilities were service-connected, the VA said. But Adams said that recourse is help to very few. "The onus is on the veteran," he said. "The standards have imposed a very high burden."


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Old 11-10-2016, 01:19 PM   #3
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If it dismisses charges, take the pass...

Bergdahl Lawyers Appeal to Highest Military Court Over McCain Comments
Nov 10, 2016 | Lawyers for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl believe the judge overseeing the court-martial should have dismissed the desertion and misbehavior charges amid criticism from Sen. John McCain -- and are calling on the military's highest court to intervene.
Eugene Fidell, Bergdahl's lawyer, filed a writ of mandamus on Wednesday calling on the U.S. Army Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces to toss out the charges. Bergdahl's lawyers filed a similar petition to the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals last month, which has not been resolved. "This original mandamus petition raises an important question that directly implicates public confidence in the administration of justice: is it lawful for the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee to publicly brand a specific accused as 'clearly' guilty of a serious offense and threaten to conduct a hearing if he is not punished at a court-martial?" according to the writ.

Lt. Col. Frank Rosenblatt, left, and Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl leave the court room for the lunch break on Monday, Aug 22, 2016, at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Bergdahl walked off a remote post in Afghanistan in 2009 and was subsequently held by the Taliban for nearly five years. He was released in May 2014 in exchange for prisoners being held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Bergdahl has said he left the base to catch the attention of military brass. He wanted to warn them about what he believed were serious problems with leadership in his unit. His court-martial is scheduled for Feb. 6 at Fort Bragg. McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee since January 2015, has repeatedly made comments about the case and indicated that if the military justice system doesn't punish Bergdahl, the committee will hold a hearing. Fidell has accused McCain of exerting influence in the case.

In August, Bergdahl's lawyers filed a motion for oral arguments to dismiss charges because they don't believe Bergdahl can receive a fair trial in light of McCain's comments. They said if Col. Jeffrey Nance, the judge overseeing the court-martial, wouldn't dismiss the case, he should limit Bergdahl's sentence to no punishment. Nance denied the request. In October, Berdahl's lawyers filed a motion asking the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals to intervene. That motion hadn't been resolved by the time the lawyers filed a motion to the military's highest court.

Bergdahl Lawyers Appeal to Highest Military Court Over McCain Comments |
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