My Question: How Many Times Did Bergdahl Try to Escape?

UPDATE, 8 June: I have seem some indications on the news that Bergdahl did indeed try to escape at least once. Good for him.

I suspect some charges still await him, and he will have his chance to defend himself against them.

In the end, I hope we will see honor upheld.

Amid the furor of whether Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier for whose return the administration freed five senior terrorists, only deserted his post and was unfortunately captured or actively sought to turn himself over to the Taliban — i.e., whether he was AWOL or a defector — I have not seen anything that indicates whether the young man ever actually tried to escape from his captivity.

POW*MIA Medallion
(“POW/MIA Medallion,” by Vince LoPresti, on Flickr under Creative Commons.)

Why does that matter? Because one of the chief responsibilities of any U.S. servicemember who is taken captive is to try to escape. (Even I learned that, and I was in the Air Force.)

It will be interesting to see, if details of the case are released, whether Bergdahl is found to have willingly violated Article II of the Code of Conduct for Members of the United States Armed Forces, which states,

I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.

One might make the case that Bergdahl was captured against his will, though his former comrades have cast doubt on that. But I also wonder if Bergdahl sought opportune moments to escape during his five years of captivity, or if he effectively violated Article III of the Code of Conduct:

If I am captured I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy.

“I will make every effort to escape,” if I am acting in accordance with the Code of Conduct. Thus, my question: did he, and how many times?

I look forward to seeing how this plays out, and what charges are eventually brought against the young man.

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2 Responses to My Question: How Many Times Did Bergdahl Try to Escape?

  1. Conan says:

    I expect that eventually, after a substantial amount of time for it to blow over to an extent (call it reconstitution/reintegration/whatever) they’ll go through a show court martial, possibly convict on some lesser offense, sentence to time already served in captivity, and move on. I just hope, if it plays out that he DID actually desert, that he’s at least given a bad conduct/dishonorable discharge at the very least…