According to Stars & Stripes, Bowe Bergdahl intends to apply for some awards that he thinks he earned during his adventures in Afghanistan, including the Purple Heart and the POW Medal. The Army has decided that they’ll hold off on their decision until after his court martial. Of course, Bergdahl’s lawyer immediately began to whine;
The lack of the awards was raised by another attorney for Bergdahl, Army Lt. Col. Franklin Rosenblatt, during a pretrial hearing on Tuesday, but it was not clear when the issue would be resolved.
“Sgt. Bergdahl was advised just the other day to initiate the paperwork for the four additional decorations to which he is entitled,” Fidell said in a statement. “If higher-ups in the Army have indeed decided to withhold them without even waiting for his submission, we are both surprised and disappointed. Preventing the accused from wearing his or her decorations is a major issue in a court-martial. A soldier has a right to appear in court wearing all military decorations to which he or she is entitled. Why can’t Sgt. Bergdahl be treated like any other soldier — and afforded the presumption of innocence?”
Our buddy Doug Sterner, weighed in on the issue;
Doug Sterner, an Army veteran who served in Vietnam and is well-known for his research of military awards, said that he doesn’t think that Bergdahl should get either award because he walked away from his unit. It’s difficult to picture him getting the POW Medal in particular, Sterner said, citing the legislation that created the medal, which said that it should “recognize that character of military service which arises under the most hostile and difficult of circumstances — that of being held prisoner by the enemy.”
But Sterner said a case can be made that he should at least get the Purple Heart because he was in fact wounded while in captivity.
I’m sure that any wounds he sustained while in captivity were John Kerry-esque and it could arguably be proven to be self-inflicted because he knowingly walked away from his unit and his duties. Besides, I’m pretty sure that he won’t be able to produce medical records to substantiate the injuries from the Haqqani Network, his hosts. It would probably violate their HIPPA laws.