Soldiers and an Air Force intelligence officer recalled a chaotic July 2009 firefight where one soldier was shot in the head and another had his hand shattered after searching a village in Afghanistan for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
Their testimony came during the sentencing hearing for Bergdahl, whose disappearance from his remote outpost in Afghanistan in 2009 triggered intense search and rescue operations. Bergdahl pleaded guilty last week to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy and could serve life in prison.
A military judge, Col. Jeffery Nance, will decide Bergdahl’s punishment. The sentencing hearing began this week on Fort Bragg.
All of the witnesses who testified Thursday described how they rapidly executed missions hoping to find Bergdahl. Two American soldiers suffered head and hand injuries on the mission on July 8, 2009.
Lawyers for Bergdahl have said the injuries that soldiers involved in the search received were caused by enemy insurgents.
A small group of Americans, working with Afghan partners, came under heavy enemy fire after they left a village to question elders on the whereabouts of Bergdahl. The unit, which had walked more than 10 kilometers the night before, was exhausted and nearly out of water.
Jonathan Morita, an infantryman recalled to deploy to Afghanistan after serving three years in the Army, was holding his M4 rifle when he was struck in the right hand by a dud rocket-propelled grenade. The strike was so powerful it broke the rifle into four pieces and split open several of his fingers. His thumb was dangling, he said.
Read the story here: http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20171026/soldiers-describe-search-mission-that-left-comrades-injured
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