- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was discharged from the U.S. Coast Guard for unexplained reasons prior to joining the Army, according to a Coast Guard memo to Congress that sheds new light on the career back story of the soldier at the center of the controversial five-for-one U.S.-Taliban prisoner swap.

Questions have swirled over the past week about Sgt. Bergdahl’s personal history and mental state amid reports that he deserted his unit in Afghanistan in 2009 prior being captured by the Taliban.


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The Coast Guard now says the sergeant had briefly joined its service in 2006, only to be “discharged from boot camp 26 days later” under “unspecified” circumstances.

The revelation came in an email to congressional staffers ahead of a House Armed Services Committee hearing Wednesday on the Obama administration’s handling of the Berghdal-Taliban prisoner swap.


“Wanted to send this to you before you see it in the papers,” stated the email, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Times. “Bowe Bergdahl joined the CG in 2006 and was discharged from boot camp 26 days later with a RE-3L reenlistment code.”

“This ‘unspecified’ discharge and reenlistment code is typically applied when a recruit is unable to adapt, fails to demonstrate adequate effort or is involved in disciplinary action,” the email continued. “This would have required a waiver for him to enlist in the Army.”


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Army spokeswoman Lt. Col. Alayne Conway confirmed Wednesday that Sgt. Bergdahl had indeed been discharged from the Coast Guard prior to his enlistment in the Army.

A senior Pentagon official familiar with Sgt. Bergdahl’s plight told The Times that Coast Guard officials decided to send him home on a “uncharacterized discharge.”

“What that means, is that he hadn’t served long enough for the Coast Guard to make a decision on if his service had been honorable, dishonorable or something else. It’s kind of like when you annul a marriage,” the official said.