Evan Buetow, the Army sergeant who supervised Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan, said Monday that he and other platoon mates who consider Bergdahl a deserter will stick to their story despite efforts "to discredit us and our character."
"We're not going away," Buetow said on "Hannity" on Fox News.
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Buetow, who returned home after two deployments to work in law enforcement, was responding to news reports about problems in Bergdahl's unit. He called them "half true" and "completely unfair."
"Every deployed unit has problems," he said, adding that "they would never denote anybody walking off the post to then seek out the Taliban," as he maintains Bergdahl did before his capture and release five years later in exchange for five Taliban commanders held by the United States at Guantanamo Bay.
Buetow said troops were photographed out of uniform — in T-shirts and bandannas — because they were digging fox holes "in the middle of Afghanistan," and had removed gear to avoid overheating and enable them to do the work more comfortably.
Buetow said he doesn't feel like the U.S. government has turned against him. But he denied that he was "Swift Boating" Bergdahl and said that the criticism doesn't change his and other troops' certainty about what happened.
"I don't see them attacking our story as much as attacking our character," Buetow said of critics.
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