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Bowe Bergdahl

Soldier
Date Of Birth:
28 March 1986
Place Of Birth:
Sun Valley, Idaho
Best Known As:
The U.S. soldier who was a POW in Afghanistan

Name at birth: Bowe Robert Bergdahl

Bowe Bergdahl was a private in the United States Army when he deserted and was captured in Afghanistan in 2009 by the Taliban, becoming the only American prisoner of war in that theater of operations. Bowe Bergdahl grew up and was homeschooled in Idaho. When he was 20 years old he traveled to France and applied to the French Foreign Legion, but was rejected. He went back to Idaho and worked for a while, then joined the Army in 2008. He was sent to eastern Afghanistan with the 25th Infantry in March of 2009, and on the morning of 30 June 2009, Bergdahl was reported missing. U.S. forces launched an expansive search, but it became clear that Bergdahl had been captured and was being held prisoner once a Taliban video was released three weeks later. Nearly five years after that, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced on 31 May 2014 that Bergdahl had been released from captivity as part of a prisoner swap; in return, the U.S. released five prisoners from its prison at Guantanamo Bay. Bergdahl's release was controversial because it conflicted with a policy of refusing negotiations with the Taliban, and because of claims that six soldiers had died in the search for him. (Officials have not confirmed those deaths as being directly related to the search for Bergdahl.) Bergdahl was court-martialed on one charge of desertion and one charge of misbehavior before the enemy. He entered a guilty plea in October of 2017 and was dishonorably discharged, fined and demoted to private, but not given jail time.