People, especially those who have served in the military, are drawn to the Bowe Bergdahl case mainly because of the ramifications of his decision to leave his post while serving in Afghanistan. His decision to willingly leave his post put men in harm’s way while attempting to locate him. Berghdahl ultimately paid a heavy price and spent five years in Taliban custody. He now may also serve time in a military prison. One has to question what Bergdahl’s perspective was, and what could have compelled him to endanger his life and the lives of others. Most see him as a deserter who put others in harm’s way, while he apparently sees himself quite differently.

Bowe Bergdahl’s lawyer recently released his interview transcript from the AR (Army regulation) 15-6 investigation conducted on August 06, 2014. The prosecution is accusing his lawyers of violating the court protective order by releasing the interview transcript. The 373-page document consists of an interview of Bowe Bergdahl by the appointed investigating officer, Major General Kenneth Dahl. Others in attendance during his interview were Mr. Eugene Fidell (civilian defense counsel), CPT Alfredo Foster (defense counsel), and the court reporter. The investigating officer lists the charges against him as: being absent without leave, desertion, and fraudulent enlistment.

Many have referred to Bowe Bergdahl’s decision to leave his post in Afghanistan as a result of a mental breakdown. Yet it appears to be more than a one-time-only type of mental breakdown. He had panic attacks in Coast Guard basic training, which ultimately resulted in an uncharacterized discharge. The social and emotional challenges of the Coast Guard basic training seemed to overwhelm him due to his conservative background and his lack of life experiences. He did not feel ready to be responsible for other people’s lives. Bergdahl said,

They came in and asked me some questions. And I believe I said something about–I was trying to say, basically, “I can’t save these people.” Because the pressure was, honestly, all the way up until that point, the information I was getting from my family, especially my dad, was that I can’t succeed in anything, that I am a failure. So, when I got to–that never played a part until I got to that point in my life and I was looking around and I had seen what I was supposed to do as a team member. These people are in this ocean. We have to save them. My team members are next to me. They are relying on me to keep [sic-have] their back. So, the pressure that was in that Coast Guard basic was me and what I know of me as a failure. And suddenly I am responsible for someone else’s life. So that added to the pressure and that’s what kind of brought about the panic attack and that’s when I did my best. I mean, I think I did my best to convey that to whoever was talking to me. What they ended up doing was they ended up–I think he was a psychiatrist because he ended up having me sign something. After that, that [panic attack] is what dropped me from–I got an uncharacterized discharge from the Coast Guard.”