Here are two accounts, one from the Nathan Bethea and the other from a soldier named “Cody”, both confirming the basic ‘desertion’/walk-off story. Both were told they weren’t supposed to speak of this, Cody speaks of some soldiers being asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
Via Daily Beast:
It was June 30, 2009, and I was in the city of Sharana, the capitol of Paktika province in Afghanistan. As I stepped out of a decrepit office building into a perfect sunny day, a member of my team started talking into his radio. “Say that again,” he said. “There’s an American soldier missing?”
There was. His name was Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl, the only prisoner of war in the Afghan theater of operations. His release from Taliban custody on May 31 marks the end of a nearly five-year-old story for the soldiers of his unit, the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment. I served in the same battalion in Afghanistan and participated in the attempts to retrieve him throughout the summer of 2009. After we redeployed, every member of my brigade combat team received an order that we were not allowed to discuss what happened to Bergdahl for fear of endangering him. He is safe, and now it is time to speak the truth.
And that the truth is: Bergdahl was a deserter, and soldiers from his own unit died trying to track him down.
On the night prior to his capture, Bergdahl pulled guard duty at OP Mest, a small outpost about two hours south of the provincial capitol. The base resembled a wagon circle of armored vehicles with some razor wire strung around them. A guard tower sat high up on a nearby hill, but the outpost itself was no fortress. Besides the tower, the only hard structure that I saw in July 2009 was a plywood shed filled with bottled water. Soldiers either slept in poncho tents or inside their vehicles.
The next morning, Bergdahl failed to show for the morning roll call. The soldiers in 2nd Platoon, Blackfoot Company discovered his rifle, helmet, body armor and web gear in a neat stack. He had, however, taken his compass. His fellow soldiers later mentioned his stated desire to walk from Afghanistan to India.
The Daily Beast’s Christopher Dickey later wrote that “[w]hether Bergdahl…just walked away from his base or was lagging behind on a patrol at the time of his capture remains an open and fiercely debated question.” Not to me and the members of my unit. Make no mistake: Bergdahl did not “lag behind on a patrol,” as was cited in news reports at the time. There was no patrol that night. Bergdahl was relieved from guard duty, and instead of going to sleep, he fled the outpost on foot. He deserted. I’ve talked to members of Bergdahl’s platoon—including the last Americans to see him before his capture. I’ve reviewed the relevant documents. That’s what happened.
We also want to point to this story from a courageous soldier, who began posting over the weekend, fearful that he would be attacked by the Obama regime for doing so. Thank you to Sooper Mexican for putting his tweets together for us all. This soldier outlines the strange account that Bergdahl appears to have walked off looking to meet up with the Taliban. Jake Tapper also spoke with Cody in his CNN article.
According to Cody, Bergdahl said that he would “pop smoke” or walk off “if deployment was lame”. He later packed most of his belongings and sent them home. Cody noted several things that Bergdahl wrote home to his family were not true, such as the claim that the unit had run over a child, and that Bergdahl was “a little off”.
After Bergdahl went missing with his camera, journal and compass, the search began. The searchers found children that said they had seen an American “crawling around in the weeds” and acting funny. Other villagers said an American did come through the area, was wanting water and someone who spoke English. Also that he wanted to meet with Taliban.
While searching for him, Cody noted that “ambushes and IEDs picked up tremendously” because the enemy knew they would be coming. “IEDs started being placed more effectively in the coming weeks. Ambushes were more calculated, cover and concealment was used.” Cody also notes soldiers dying in this attempt to find Bergdahl, “Risking their own to save another, have no greater love.”
Finally, Cody notes, “How many other prisoners have lasted 5 years? Taliban and Haqqani are ruthless”.