Sioux Falls, SD
He was in Taliban captivity for five years but less than two months after being returned to the United States, Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is back on active duty. Bergdahl will reportedly work a desk job at a base in Texas while continuing to readjust. It's not the place one of his former platoon members thinks he should be.
Former Army Sergeant and Sioux Falls native Matt Vierkant thinks about Bowe Bergdahl every day. He remembers Bergdahl's rough condition in the final days of captivity and is surprised to see he's back at work so soon.
"How is he just fine six weeks later? He has no mental problems, no instability? His health is just fine? To me that says that he was just fine to begin with and that the prisoner exchange wasn't warranted," Vierkant said.
Five Taliban members were freed to get Bergdahl back. Shortly after the deal was made, President Obama joined Bergdahl's parents for a statement at the White House. It's an image Vierkant can't get out of his head knowing people died looking for who he calls a deserter.
"He did more for Bergdahl and his family than he did for Lietenant (Darryn) Andrews who died searching for him. Who pushed people out of the way so that he could take a direct RPG and save their lives. Yet they get a stamped, signed copy saying thank you and someone who deserts gets a Rose Garden ceremony with their parents? It's very confusing," Vierkant said.
Vierkant is hoping Bergdahl is brought to justice once an investigation is complete. He says an apology wouldn't make a difference and he's worried about what the former captive will do now that he's free to come and go as he pleases.
"We never thought that he would desert in the middle of Afghanistan. So now that he's back home here, who's to say that he wouldn't do something like that again. Whether it is leave or commit more crimes against the military," Vierkant said.
Bergdahl's desk job will be at Fort Sam Houston in Texas. He will have a sponsor to help him readjust to Army life.