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June 03, 2014 06:00 PM

Local Veteran Served With Bergdahl

Sioux Falls, SD

Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is back in American hands after spending the last five years as a Taliban captive. While some want to throw parades for the returning soldier, several of his former platoon members say he abandoned them and want him to go to trial.

Former Army Sergeant, Purple Heart recipient and Sioux Falls-native Matt Vierkant remembers the day his fellow platoon member Bowe Bergdahl went missing in June 2009. He also has a clear picture of what he thinks happened at that outpost in Afghanistan.

"He's labeled a hero and he's going to get promoted and everything else. We want the true story to come out because those things shouldn't be happening. He needs to stand trial and stand up for his actions," Vierkant said.

Vierkant says his negative opinion of Bergdahl comes after learning about a message he sent to family about being ashamed to be an American. He also says Bergdahl mysteriously sent his laptop home, and mentioned getting lost in the mountains days before leaving his weapon and gear behind and walking off.

"American lives were put in harms way specifically searching for somebody who walked out on his brothers in arms and that's one of the main reasons why everybody is so pissed off. That's why I'm pissed off." Vierkant said. "We're risking our lives to try to find somebody who didn't want to be with us, who left us to do who knows what."

Several soldiers Vierkant knew died on missions put together to find Bergdahl. It's why he's so passionate about getting to the truth. It's also why he doesn't agree with trading Taliban prisoners for Bergdahl's freedom.  

"We spent all this time and now we made this trade but it was for somebody who left us behind. We didn't leave him behind, he left us behind," Vierkant said.

Vierkant calls Bergdahl a deserter and a traitor. He does however think there's a lot of intelligence that is still unknown about the whole situation that could shed more light on the mystery.

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