I'll do a copy and paste to start things off:
SAN ANTONIO — The general who led the Army investigation into Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl"s disappearance from an Afghan combat outpost in 2009 testified Friday that Bergdahl walked away intentionally in hopes of triggering a search and rescue mission that would reveal "severe" leadership problems in his platoon.
Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dahl testified on the second day of a pre-trial hearing to determine whether Bergdahl should be court-martialed on charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. If convicted, he faces a maximum life sentence.
Bergdahl, now 29, of Hailey, Idaho, was captured by the Taliban five years ago and released in 2014 in a controversial prisoner exchange last year for five Taliban leaders being held by the U.S. at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Taliban leaders were released to the government of Qatar.
Bergdahl, who chose not to testify at the hearing, has shown little emotion during two days of testimony. Dressed in a blue uniform and seated between his attorneys, he has appeared to be taking notes.
Dahl, the investigating officer in the case, told a packed courtroom at Fort Sam Houston that his 22-person team interviewed 57 people in the case.
The general said Bergdahl, the night he disappeared, planned to run from his post to Forward Operating Base Sharana. roughly 19 miles away. He expected to arrive after a search had been launched and thought this would create a “PR event” that might get a general to listen to him about his concerns.
“Sergeant Bergdahl perceived there was a problem with the leadership in (his platoon) and the problem with that leadership was so severe that his platoon was in danger,” Dahl said. “So he wanted to create that event. He was going to run” to the other outpost.
He said Bergdahl left that evening without a rifle because he wanted to be "light and lean." Instead, he was captured by the Taliban eight to 10 hours after he left leaving his outpost. Dahl said Berghdahl tried to escape his Taliban captives the first day, and got roughed up.
Dahl described Bergdahl as a very good soldier who was motivated to deploy to Afghanistan and had a "kick down doors" mentality. He said Bergdahl was frustrated with the training he went through and thought it lacked ideal standards.
“He felt it was his duty to intervene,” said Dahl, who added during his testimony that he does not think Bergdahl should go to prison.
Eugene Fidell, Berghdahl's civilian lawyer, said his client declined to take the stand, believing that he had already conveyed what he knows about the case in a 371-page sworn statement.
Greg Leatherman, the first defense witness and a former sergeant in Bergdahl's unit, testified he was a great soldier. "If we made a super squad from our command, Bergdahl is the first pick every time," Leatherman told the hearing.
He also said Bergdahl wanted to take the fight to the enemy but wasn't adjusting well to their deployment. Leatherman said he suggested to higher-ups that Bergdahl speak to someone, such as a chaplain.
Leatherman said he took his concerns to a first sergeant after a road patrol, but was told it was not his place to talk about what's wrong with soldiers in the company.
Leatherman said the first sergeant told him: "Shut the (expletive) up." and "(Expletive) off."
On the first day of the hearing Thursday, the prosecution said Bergdahl vanished after deserting his unit. “Under the cover of darkness, he snuck off the post,” Maj. Margaret Kurz said.
Bergdahl's platoon leader, Capt. John Billings, testified that he was "in shock" when he couldn't find one of his own men that day in June 2009.
His unit carried out an extensive search in the days after Bergdahl’s disappearance. Under cross-examination by Lt. Col. Franklin Rosenblatt, a defense attorney, Billings said no one from his platoon died during the search.
Billings said he considered Bergdahl “a great soldier from all accounts” before his disappearance.
Under questioning, Billings said he had no idea Bergdahl had been discharged earlier by the Coast Guard after a mental health evaluation. He said he didn’t know the Army had waived mental health requirements when Bergdahl enlisted and that the Army later concluded Bergdahl had a mental disease.
Fidell, Bergdahl';s attorney, has urged the public not to draw a conclusion until hearing all the evidence. “People ought to keep an open mind,” he said in a recent interview.
Bergdahl has said he tried to escape a dozen times and was regularly chained and beaten, according to a statement his attorney released this year.
Lots to digest there. Thoughts?