A soldier stationed with Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan said on Tuesday that a news story calling their unit a gang of misfits doesn't address the central issue: Bergdahl walked away from his post in wartime.
"Everybody else can speculate about whatever they want, but all we want is an investigation opened up and perhaps a court-martial, perhaps a trial," Matt Vierkant told Newsmax TV's
Ed Berliner on "Midpoint."
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Vierkant, who agrees with other platoon mates that Bergdahl is a deserter
, said that by now military investigators would "have to be sitting on a lot of information because it happened five years ago."
He pushed back at a New York Times portrayal
of the unit as "raggedy" and undisciplined, in part because soldiers were photographed out of uniform, in T-shirts and bandannas, while digging foxholes for their remote encampment in one of Afghanistan's most violent provinces.
"If you want to criticize what somebody's wearing and get upset about that, I think there's a lot bigger issues," said Vierkant.
"We had the proper capability to defend ourselves," he said. "Nobody was ever worried about our security. I never really had any questions about that."
Vierkant didn't know Bergdahl well — they did training exercises together— but he did form an impression: "He had a thirst for knowledge. He was an intelligent person. He was a loner. He liked to keep to himself. Just real quiet and reserved."
"He seemed like a normal guy, just an introvert," said Vierkant. "A lot of people are like that . . . so I didn't see it as necessarily too strange."
Bergdahl's disappearance from the post before dawn on June 30, 2009, and details that have surfaced since his controversial release have led Vierkant to think Bergdahl knew what he was doing.
He called being a deserter "one of the worst things that you could do to a fellow soldier."
As for Bergdahl's motives, Vierkant said, "The reasoning doesn't matter. Desertion is desertion."
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