Judge To Allow Evidence Of Navy SEAL, Soldier Career-Ending Injuries In Bowe Bergdahl Sentencing

news
Photo via DoD

Evidence that a soldier and a Navy Seal who were injured on missions to search for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will be permitted during the sentencing portion of his court-martial, according to a ruling from the military judge on Friday.


Col. Jeffery Nance, the military judge overseeing the court-martial, ruled that evidence of injuries to Sgt. 1st Class Mark Allen and retired Senior Chief Petty Officer James Hatch, a Navy SEAL, will be allowed during sentencing if Bergdahl is convicted of misbehavior before the enemy.

“Neither Allen nor Hatch would have been where they were doing what they were doing but for the actions of the accused, assuming he is found guilty of (misbehavior before the enemy),” Nance wrote.

In March 2015, Bergdahl was charged with misbehavior before the enemy by endangering the safety of a command, unit or place and desertion. If convicted of misbehavior before the enemy, Bergdahl could be imprisoned for life.

Bergdahl walked off a remote post in Afghanistan in 2009 and was subsequently held by the Taliban for five years.

His disappearance triggered a DUSTWUN, or “duty status-whereabouts unknown,” which is an alert that would have been widely distributed.

Bergdahl has said he wanted to catch the attention of military brass to warn them about what he believed were serious problems with leadership in his unit.

The court-martial is scheduled to begin Oct. 23 at Fort Bragg.

Eugene Fidell, Bergdahl's lead civilian lawyer, said he's studying the judge's ruling.

"It affects only the sentencing phase," Fidell said. "Of course, if Sgt. Bergdahl is acquitted, as we believe he should be, there will be no sentencing phase."

Defense lawyers have said hastily-planned missions contributed to the injuries of service members searching for Bergdahl. They said the soldier can’t be responsible for decisions made by others and action that continued long after his disappearance.

Allen was shot in the head when he and his embedded training team consisting of six Americans and 48 Afghan National Army were searching in a village for Bergdahl. Allen suffered a traumatic brain injury stroke and is confined to a wheelchair and unable to communicate.

On a separate mission, Hatch suffered a broken femur when he was hit by enemy fire on a mission to search for Bergdahl. The injury ended his naval career.

———

©2017 The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Casperassets.rbl.ms

Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.

Take $75 off a Casper Mattress and $150 off a Wave Mattress with code TASKANDPURPOSE

And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.

Read More Show Less
Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested on Jan. 29, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Wilmington Police Department, North Carolina.)

A special operations Marine is due in court on March 7 after being arrested last year for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, Task & Purpose has learned.

Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested and charged with assault inflicting serious injury on July 29, 2018, according to Jennifer Dandron, a spokeswoman for police in Wilmington, North Carolina. Evans is currently assigned as a Critical Skills Operator with the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, according to the Marine Corps Personnel Locator.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Elyse Ping Medvigy conducts a call-for-fire during an artillery shoot south of Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 22, 2014. Medvigy, a fire support officer assigned to the 4th Infantry Division's Company D, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, is the first female company fire support officer to serve in an infantry brigade combat team supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston (Photo by U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston)

Following Trump's inauguration, some supporters of ground combat integration assumed he would quickly move to reinstate a ban on women in jobs like the infantry. When this did not happen, advocates breathed a collective sigh of relief, and hundreds of qualified women charted a course in history by entering the newly opened occupational fields.

So earlier this week when the Wall Street Journal published an editorial against women in ground combat by conservative political commentator Heather Mac Donald, the inclination of many ground combat integration supporters was to dismiss it outright. But given Trump's proclivity to make knee jerk policy decisions in response to falling approval ratings and the court's tradition of deference to the military when it comes to policies affecting good order and discipline, it would be unwise to assume the 2016 lifting of the ban on women in ground combat is a done deal.

Read More Show Less

R. Lee Ermey was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday.

Best known for his iconic role as the Marine Corps drill instructor Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in the war drama Full Metal Jacket, Ermey died April 15, 2018 at age 74 due to complications from pneumonia, Task & Purpose previously reported.

Read More Show Less
A B-2 Spirit bomber deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, and F-22 Raptors from the Hawaii Air National Guard's 154th Wing fly near Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, during a interoperability training mission Jan. 15, 2019. (U.S. Air Force/Master Sgt. Russ Scalf)

The U.S. Air Force has two of its most elite aircraft — the B-2 Spirit bomber and the F-22 Raptor — training together in the Pacific, reassuring America's allies and sending a warning to strategic competitors and adversaries about the sheer power the U.S. brings to the table.

These stunning photos show the powerful aircraft tearing across the Pacific, where the U.S. has increasingly found itself facing challenges from a rising China.

Read More Show Less