Local News

Fayetteville has connection to Army captive's controversial release

Posted June 3

— The controversy surrounding the swap and release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl includes a Fayetteville connection.

Bergdahl, 28, was handed over Saturday after being held captive nearly five years by the Taliban in exchange for the release of five Afghan detainees held by the United States.

There has been some speculation that Bergdahl willingly walked away from his unit, raising the question of whether he could face charges.

Members of his unit and military officials have also complained that his decision to leave his base unarmed put his fellow soldiers in danger.

Six were killed in missions that included looking for him. Pfc. Morris Walker, 23, who graduated from Fayetteville Academy, was one of them.

Fayetteville is also home to several former prisoners of war, including Raymond Schrump, a POW in Vietnam for five years.

Schurmp said Tuesday that he's glad Bergdahl has been released but wants the public to let the military decide Bergdahl’s fate.

"I think that's what we need to do. Give him a chance to reunite with his family, for crying out loud," Schrump said. "Then, if there is justification for a court martial, I'm sure the Defense Department will do that."

Bergdahl is expected to be reunited with his family after he recovers.

It's unclear if the Army will pursue an investigation.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that there are a variety of offenses related to an absence without proper approval, and a number of potential actions could be taken by the military.

Those actions include being tried by court martial under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for desertion; being given a non-judicial punishment for a lesser charge, such as being away without leave; or being given credit for time already served while being a prisoner.

Dempsey stressed that any decision would be up to the Army.

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