Chelsea IrizarryNov 3, 2017, 11:18 pmNov 6, 2017, 12:36 pm

Veterans upset over sentencing of U.S. Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl

Judge decides army sergeant will avoid any jail time and instead get a dishonorable charge


LEVITTOWN — At the Veterans of Foreign Wars post, veterans and services members expressed their outrage with the sentence given to Bowe Bergdahl.

Bergdahl walked away from his post in Afghanistan back in 2009. In response, several of his comrades went to search for him, where they were severely wounded. Bergdahl was held captive for five years by the Taliban, where he claims he was tortured.

Prosecutors had sought a 14-year sentence, but a military judge ruled Friday that the army sergeant will avoid any jail time and instead get a dishonorable charge. His rank will be reduced from sergeant to private, and for the next 10 months, he will be required to pay a $1,000 fine from his salary.

Bergdahl pleaded to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

“I was kind of disgusted with the verdict. I don't know how they reached it. The guy is so guilty that it's crazy,” said U.S. Army Vietnam veteran Lt. Jim Hasselmann.

“He doesn't need to go free. He needs a total punishment for that,” said U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. Jason Sanchez.

Some say the physical and mental abuse Bergdahl received while being held captive could be the reason for no jail time, but some are skeptical in trusting his word.

"We don't know what happened to him. We don't know what he did with them. Remember, he gave himself up to them, so we’re not sure. He says he was tortured, but we really don't know, " Hasselmann said.

The news sparked a response from President Donald Trump on Twitter, where he wrote:

"The decision on Sergeant Bergdahl is a complete and total disgrace to our Country and to our Military."

The Veterans of Foreign Wars National Commander Keith Harman honored the military courts sentence. He said:

"Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's actions needlessly endangered the lives of our service members. Today, and into the future, he is being held accountable for those actions as he carries the weight of a dishonorable discharge."

Those in the armed forces say it's important to show punishment is real and this sentence does not do that. They say instead it sets a bad example for soldiers.

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