Rather than spend the rest of his natural life in Leavenworth, or face a firing squad, the US Army is deciding whether or not disgraced Army Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl is entitled to up to $300,000 in back pay during his time in captivity.
The soldier, formerly a sergeant, was convicted of abandoning his post, received a dishonorable discharge and a reduction in rank. He deserted his post in eastern Afghanistan in 2009 and was captured by the Taliban.
The State Department marked Bergdahl in as “Missing-Captured” several days after he was captured and the terror group released a video featuring him alive.
Captive soldiers normally receive special compensation worth around $150,000 in addition to hostile-fire pay and basic pay accumulated during captivity. But since Bergdahl was convicted for abandoning his post, simply giving Bergdahl as much as $300,000 doesn’t seem right.
“My understanding is there has to be an administrative determination of his duty status at each point, from the time he was captured until now,” an army official told the Army Times. “In order to figure out what he’s owed, you’re basically going to have to start from that point of captivity.”
There are several options here:
It’s possible Bergdahl could receive only the basic pay he accumulated during his five-year captivity.
Also possible: Bergdahl might be ruled ineligible for back pay and could even owe money to the military.
The Army could determine that he should not be paid for the time in captivity, or that he was overpaid since his return to the U.S, according to the official who spoke with the Army Times.
“Based upon the results of trial, the Army is reviewing Sgt. Bergdahl’s pay and allowances,” Lt. Col. Randy Taylor told the Times. “His final pay and allowances will be determined in accordance with DoD policy and Army regulation.”
To top off the nonsense, before his trial, the military lawyer for Bergdahl called for the Army to award his client service medals, including the Purple Heart and the POW medal.
Lt. Col. Franklin Rosenblatt said that Bergdahl was entitled to the same awards that any other soldier might get. Failure to give him the awards “biased” potential jurors in the upcoming trial. Bergdahl received a dishonorable discharge but avoided prison time.
The Defense Department marked Bergdahl as “Duty Status-Whereabouts Unknown” on June 30, 2009, Military.com reported in 2014. Three days later, he was switched to “Missing-Captured,” when a Taliban propaganda video showed him alive and detained.
The Army will use that timeline to determine his pay. Ordinarily, the official said, a soldier who has been marked missing or captured would be entitled to back pay upon return.
But Bergdahl, who has been assigned to a desk job since his return and drawing commensurate pay, may not be considered a prisoner of war after pleading guilty to desertion.
“In order to figure out what he’s owed, you’re basically going to have to start from that point of captivity,” the official said.
In the end, the official added, Bergdahl may be entitled to his accumulated basic pay while in captivity but not the Basic Allowance for Housing, Basic Allowance for Subsistence and per diem given to prisoners.
Or, he added, it may turn out that Bergdahl “owes us,” if it’s determined he should not be paid for his time in captivity, or that he has been overpaid since his return.
What do you think? Is it as crazy as it seems that Bergdahl could even be considered for POW pay? Sound off below!
H/T: Fox News