Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier who triggered extensive search missions after he walked off his post in Afghanistan in 2009 and was captured by the Taliban, will serve no time in prison.
Col. Jeffery Nance, the military judge overseeing Bergdahl’s court-martial at Fort Bragg, announced the soldier’s sentence Friday morning.
Bergdahl stood between his lawyers, shaking, as his sentence was read in court.
Nance announced Bergdahl should receive a dishonorable discharge, be reduced in rank from E5 to E1 and forfeit pay of $1,000 a month for 10 months. He did not offer an explanation for his decision, but considered evidence from service members who were injured searching for Bergdahl, as well as the torture the soldier endured while held captive and harsh criticism of then-candidate Donald Trump.
The sentence must be approved by the convening authority, who is Gen. Robert Abrams, the commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg. He has 120 days to review the sentence.
Read the story here: http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20171103/bergdahl-gets-no-prison-time-dishonorable-discharge
A judge is deliberating the sentence for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who pleaded guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy after walking off his post in Afghanistan in 2009.
Col. Jeffery Nance, the military judge overseeing the court-martial, began deliberations just before noon Thursday. Court was recessed just before 5 p.m. without a decision.
Prosecutors asked that Bergdahl receive 14 years of confinement, demotion to the rank of E1 private and a punitive discharged. Prosecutors said the torture and beatings that Bergdahl endured as a prisoner of the Taliban for five years should be considered as the judge decides the sentence.
Defense lawyers asked the judge to consider a dishonorable discharge with no confinement.
Bergdahl pleaded guilty Oct. 16 without a plea agreement.
Earlier this week, Bergdahl gave unsworn testimony in which he apologized to the service members who searched for him. He said walking off post was a “horrible mistake.”
Bergdahl’s disappearance triggered extensive, hastily planned search missions, including two where service members were injured.
Read the story here: http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20171102/judge-deliberating-sentence-for-army-sgt-bowe-bergdahl
Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s mental disorders likely contributed to his decision to walk off his post in Afghanistan in 2009, a psychiatrist testified for his defense Wednesday morning.
Charles Morgan III, a forensic psychiatrist who spent about 20 hours evaluating Bergdahl, said the soldier suffers from schizotypal personality disorder, post traumatic stress disorder and social phobia.
“I do believe they play a role,” Morgan said of Bergdahl’s decision to desert his post, leading to his capture by the Taliban.
Bergdahl, 31, pleaded guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy and could be sentenced to life in prison.
Read the story here: http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20171101/psychiatrist-describes-bergdahls-mental-disorders
Two officials who debriefed Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl after he was rescued from five years of captivity in Afghanistan said his personal experiences as a Taliban prisoner are critical to understanding insurgents as well as training troops on survival and evasion techniques.
Bergdahl, 31, who has already pleaded guilty to charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, gave unsworn testimony on Monday to apologize to everyone involved in searching for him. He spoke for about two hours, describing the torture and constant beatings he endured in captivity.
The testimony follows the prosecutor’s case that included powerful statements from soldiers who were injured on missions searching for Bergdahl.
The military judge, Col. Jeffery Nance, will consider the testimony as he determines if Bergdahl should spend the rest of his life in prison.
Amber Dach, a lead intelligence analyst, debriefed Bergdahl for about 70 hours when he arrived at Landstuhl, Germany, in June 2014. She said Bergdahl was eager to help.
“It was a gold mine,” she said. “It really reshaped the way we do intelligence collection in the area.”
Read the story here: http://www.fayobserver.com/search?text=dolasinski&start=1
Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl on Monday became emotional as he recalled the constant torture and beatings he endured for nearly five years as a prisoner of the Taliban.
Bergdahl, who gave unsworn testimony during his sentencing hearing on Fort Bragg, spoke for about two hours. He paused at one point to get a tissue and to compose himself before continuing his testimony.
Bergdahl walked off his remote post in Afghanistan in 2009 and was subsequently captured and held by the Taliban for half a decade. He pleaded guilty Oct. 16 to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy and could serve life in prison. His sentencing hearing began last week on Fort Bragg.
In the military justice system, unsworn testimony can be offered only by victims or by those accused. It is not subject to cross examination.
In a prepared statement, Bergdahl said he was sorry and never intended for anyone to get hurt looking for him. He said walking away was a “horrible mistake.”
“I’m extremely relieved my platoon mates made it back,” he said, reading from his statement.
Read the story here: http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20171030/bergdahl-says-walking-away-was-horrible-mistake
Soldiers and an Air Force intelligence officer recalled a chaotic July 2009 firefight where one soldier was shot in the head and another had his hand shattered after searching a village in Afghanistan for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
Their testimony came during the sentencing hearing for Bergdahl, whose disappearance from his remote outpost in Afghanistan in 2009 triggered intense search and rescue operations. Bergdahl pleaded guilty last week to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy and could serve life in prison.
A military judge, Col. Jeffery Nance, will decide Bergdahl’s punishment. The sentencing hearing began this week on Fort Bragg.
All of the witnesses who testified Thursday described how they rapidly executed missions hoping to find Bergdahl. Two American soldiers suffered head and hand injuries on the mission on July 8, 2009.
Lawyers for Bergdahl have said the injuries that soldiers involved in the search received were caused by enemy insurgents.
A small group of Americans, working with Afghan partners, came under heavy enemy fire after they left a village to question elders on the whereabouts of Bergdahl. The unit, which had walked more than 10 kilometers the night before, was exhausted and nearly out of water.
Jonathan Morita, an infantryman recalled to deploy to Afghanistan after serving three years in the Army, was holding his M4 rifle when he was struck in the right hand by a dud rocket-propelled grenade. The strike was so powerful it broke the rifle into four pieces and split open several of his fingers. His thumb was dangling, he said.
Read the story here: http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20171026/soldiers-describe-search-mission-that-left-comrades-injured
Retired Senior Chief Petty Officer James Hatch, a former Navy SEAL, on Wednesday described the blasts from an AK-47 popping around him during a rescue mission for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
“I could hear shrapnel breaking over my head,” said Hatch, who was shot during the mission near the border of Pakistan. “I really thought I was dead.”
Hatch was the first of several witnesses to testify about intense, risky search missions that were conducted to find Bergdahl after he walked away from his remote outpost in 2009. A judge will decide whether Bergdahl spends the rest of his life in prison for desertion and endangering his comrades.
He pleaded guilty to those charges last week, and the sentencing hearing began Monday.
Read the story here: http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20171025/judge-hears-about-rescue-missions
As he inched across the platform, 78-year-old Morgan Smith took a deep breath.
The U.S. Army paratrooper standing next to him had already checked his equipment. Smith was ready.
The soldier tapped Smith’s shoulder.
“Green light!,” the soldier yelled, and Smith stepped off the platform, sliding down a wire from 34 feet above the ground.
“Whew,” Smith said. “I was nervous. I’m not kidding you. I tried to look at the skyline instead of looking down.”
You can read the story here: http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20170712/paratroopers-demonstrate-their-skills-for-civilian-association
On Friday, the five finalist names for Fayetteville's new minor league baseball team were announced ... and they're definitely wild.
Woodpeckers, Wood Dogs, Fly Traps, Jumpers or Fatbacks.
Fatbacks! For those of you fellow Northerners, that's a southern food delicacy. It's literally the fat from a pig's back.
I've only had it once.
It was on a collared sandwich (that's collared greens smashed between two slices of cornbread, which is as gross as it sounds). I thought the fatbacks were french fries, so I took them off and ate them separately. Fatal mistake. It was a mouth full of salty fat. At that moment I decided there is not one southern food that I really like. I'll stick to my spaghetti, heroes and pierogies.
So anyway, our new baseball team could really be named after pig fat.
The newsroom's reactions to these names were animated. It got me thinking, 'What does the rest of Fayetteville think?'
Reporter Chick Jacobs and I went downtown to ask people. The video I shot and edited is so different than the news videos we normally do, and I wanted it to be that way. I wanted it to be light, fun and capture people's candid reactions to these eclectic baseball team names. Enjoy.
Lawyers for alleged deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl said it’s regrettable that a military judge is preventing them from asking potential jurors if they voted for President Donald Trump in the 2016 election.
“We do have an issue concerning what we think is a core question, which is how did people vote in the election,” Bergdahl’s lawyer Eugene Fidell said to reporters after a hearing Thursday on Fort Bragg. “We think that’s important, and we’re not going to know the answer to that question. That’s regrettable.”
Col. Jeffery Nance, the military judge overseeing the case, listened to arguments Thursday morning as defense lawyers and prosecutors discussed a questionnaire that will be distributed to potential jurors in the upcoming court-martial. Nance did not finalize the questionnaire, but said he will not allow a question the defense lawyers wanted — asking jurors who they voted for in the 2016 presidential race.
You can read the story here:
Behind the byline
Here's an inside look at how some of my favorite stories came together.
All Bergdahl Beyonce Civilian In The Barracks Ebola Enterprise Green Beret Hearing Humanitarian Mission Hurricane Relief Inactivation Iraq ISIS Mall Gunman Operation Toy Drop President Obama Profiles Public Records Realignment Short-notice Deployment Training Deaths Training Exercises VA Videos