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Bowe Bergdahl Fast Facts

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Here’s a look at Bowe Bergdahl, former American prisoner of war.


Birth date: March 28, 1986

Birth place: Sun Valley, Idaho

Birth name: Bowe Robert Bergdahl

Father: Robert Bergdahl

Mother: Jani Bergdahl

Military: US Army, 2008-2020

Other Facts

Traveled throughout Europe before enlisting in the Army.

Worked as a crew member on a sailboat that traveled along the East Coast and to the Caribbean.

It is believed he was being held by the Taliban and the al Qaeda-aligned Haqqani network in Pakistan.


2008 – Enlists in the Army.

May 2009 – Is deployed to Afghanistan.

June 30, 2009 – Is captured in Paktika province, Afghanistan.

July 2, 2009 – A US military official says that a soldier is being held by the clan of warlord Siraj Haqqani. The Taliban previously claimed to have captured the soldier.

July 19, 2009 – A video of Bergdahl is posted on the internet.

December 25, 2009 – Bergdahl’s captors release a video of him.

April 7, 2010 – Another video of Bergdahl is released.

June 12, 2010 – Bergdahl is promoted to specialist.

December 7, 2010 – His captors release a nearly 45-minute video of a man identified as Bergdahl.

February 2011 – Another video of Bergdahl is released.

May 6, 2011 – Bergdahl’s father makes his first statement since the disappearance of his son. He releases a video asking for his son’s release.

June 12, 2011 – Bergdahl is promoted to sergeant.

May 2012 – The US government acknowledges that it has engaged in talks with the Taliban to free Bergdahl.

June 6, 2013 – Bergdahl’s family announces that “through the International Committee of the Red Cross, we recently received a letter we’re confident was written to us by our son.”

January 2014 – A US military official tells CNN that the military has obtained a new video of Bergdahl.

February 18, 2014 – A US official tells CNN discussions are under way with intermediaries overseas to see if there is any ability to gain Bergdahl’s release. The discussions are being led by US diplomats and involve the Defense Department.

May 31, 2014 – President Barack Obama announces the release of Bergdahl. In exchange, five detainees at Guantánamo Bay will be released to Qatar.

June 13, 2014 – Bergdahl returns to the United States.

June 16, 2014 – The US Army announces that a two-star general will investigate the circumstances surrounding Bergdahl’s decision to leave his post in Afghanistan in 2009.

July 14, 2014 – The Army announces that Bergdahl has completed medical care and mental counseling at an Army hospital in San Antonio and will return to active duty with a desk job.

July 16, 2014 – Bergdahl retains attorney Eugene Fidell.

March 3, 2015 – The US military charges Bergdahl with one count each of desertion with intent to shirk important or hazardous duty, and misbehavior before the enemy by endangering the safety of a command, unit or place.

March 25, 2015 – Bergdahl’s attorney releases a statement outlining his defense of the soldier and containing a two-page letter from Bergdahl describing the torture he endured, which included months spent chained to a bed and further years spent chained on all fours or locked in a cage.

September 18, 2015 – Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dahl, the Army general who led the investigation into Bergdahl’s actions in Afghanistan, testifies at a preliminary hearing that jail time would be “inappropriate” for Bergdahl. Dahl says he interviewed Bergdahl for a day and a half and “did not find any evidence to corroborate the reporting that Bergdahl was…sympathetic to the Taliban,” but rather, Bergdahl wanted to call attention to what he considered poor leadership of his unit.

December 10, 2015 – The second season of the popular podcast “Serial” premieres, featuring Bergdahl’s story. He speaks for the first time about the nearly five years he spent as a captive of the Taliban.

December 14, 2015 – Gen. Robert Abrams, the commander of US Army Forces Command, orders Bergdahl’s case to a general court-martial, breaking with the US military officer overseeing Bergdahl’s preliminary hearing who recommended that Bergdahl be referred to a special court-martial and face no jail time.

February 9, 2016 – A judge in the court proceedings involving Bergdahl issues a stay of proceedings, essentially putting the court-martial on hold. The stay is in place until an appeals court can resolve a dispute involving the sharing of classified evidence with Bergdahl’s defense team.

March 17, 2016 – According to an Army Sanity Board evaluation, Bergdahl had schizotypal personality disorder “at the time of the alleged criminal conduct” and now also has post-traumatic stress disorder. That information is included in the hundreds of pages of documents that Bergdahl’s defense team releases on a website called the Bergdahl Docket.

April 28, 2016 – The US Army Court of Criminal Appeals denies an appeal by the prosecution, thereby granting Bergdahl’s defense team access to hundreds of thousands of pages of classified information. The court also lifts the stay of proceedings issued in early February, thus allowing Bergdahl’s court-martial to proceed.

August 16, 2017 – Bergdahl chooses to be tried by a military judge instead of a jury, according to a court filing posted by his defense team.

October 16, 2017 – Bergdahl pleads guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

November 3, 2017 – Receives a dishonorable discharge from the US Army and will avoid prison time. The military judge also rules that Bergdahl’s rank be reduced from sergeant to private and he will be required to pay a $1,000 fine from his salary for the next 10 months. The sentence is effective immediately, except for the dishonorable discharge, which Bergdahl is appealing.

August 27, 2020 – The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces upholds Bergdahl’s sentence.

February 17, 2021 Bergdahl files a lawsuit requesting his conviction be expunged.

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