WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — Prior to his Army service, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was “administratively discharged” from the Coast Guard after only 26 days in 2006.
U.S. Coast Guard and Army officials confirmed to CBS News that the sergeant who was recently exchanged for five Taliban detainees had joined the Coast Guard before the Army, but was dismissed for unclear reasons just 26 days later.
Lt. Col. Elaine Conway told CBS News that the Army knew of Bergdahl’s discharge from the Coast Guard, and said they are “looking into” whether it was known at the time of his enlistment into the Army.
An “uncharacterized discharge” means that Bergdahl didn’t serve long enough to have his performance characterized or judged.
According to The Washington Post, which obtained several pieces of Bergdahl’s writings at the time, show a man struggling with mental health issues.
“Trying to keep myself togeather [sic],” he wrote, according to The Post. “I’m worried. The closer I get to ship day, the calmer the voices are. I’m reverting. I’m getting colder. My feelings are being flushed with the frozen logic and the training, all the unfeeling cold judgment of the darkness,” he wrote in an entry right before he deployed.
“I will not lose this mind, this world I have deep inside,” he wrote a few pages later, according to The Post report. “I will not lose this passion of beauty.”
Critics have called Bergdahl a traitor and a deserter due to the odd circumstances in which he disappeared from his post prior to being captured by the Taliban in 2009.
One Pentagon official described Bergdahl to CBS News as, “at worst, a deserter. At best, a stupid kid who caused us to expend great energy and resources to bring him home.”