- Associated Press - Thursday, September 17, 2015

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - The latest on the Article 32 hearing for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to determine if he should face a court-martial on charges of desertion and and misbehavior before the enemy. All times are local.

4:25 p.m.

A battalion commander says the soldiers came under increased risk from roadside bombs while searching for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl after he disappeared from his post in southeastern Afghanistan six years ago.

Col. Clinton Baker testified Thursday that the increase was due to soldiers being sent to places that they ordinarily wouldn’t have gone.

Baker was the last of the three witnesses called by military prosecutors during Bergdahl’s Article 32 hearing. Bergdahl’s lawyers will begin presenting evidence and calling witnesses when it resumes on Friday.



All three prosecution witnesses stressed the difficulties caused by Bergdahl’s June 2009 disappearance.

Prosecutors say the evidence warrants Bergdahl facing a court-martial on charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. The misbehavior charge carries a possible life sentence.

___

2:50 p.m.

The commander of the Army company that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl belonged to says soldiers were tired, hungry and confused during the search for Bergdahl but continued on “because of the brotherhood.”

Maj. Silvino Silvino, commander of the Blackfoot Company, testified Thursday at Bergdahl’s Article 32 hearing that some soldiers grew angry because they came to believe Bergdahl had deserted.

Bergdahl went missing from his post in southeastern Afghanistan on June 30, 2009, and was held captive by the Taliban for five years until he was exchanged last year for five Taliban commanders held by the U.S. He faces charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, and his hearing is to determine whether he should face a court-martial.

Silvino says the search lasted 45 days and involved thousands of soldiers.

___

11:10 a.m.

The head of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s platoon in Afghanistan says he thought his soldiers were joking when they told him that the Idaho native had gone missing from their post.

Capt. John Billings testified at Bergdahl’s Article 32 hearing Thursday that he felt “utter disbelief” that one of his soldiers had gone missing.

Billings told military prosecutor Maj. Margaret Kurz that the search for Bergdahl was grueling at times and lasted from June 30, 2009 - the day he went missing - until the end of that August.

The hearing at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, where Bergdahl is based, will determine if he will face a military trial on charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

Bergdahl was exchanged after five years in captivity for five Taliban commanders.

___

9:20 a.m.

A hearing has begun to determine if Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl should face a military trial for leaving his post in Afghanistan in June 2009.

The Article 32 hearing at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, where Bergdahl is based, will determine if the Idaho native will face a court-martial on charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

Bergdahl’s lead attorney, Eugene Fidell, has said he plans to call witnesses during the hearing, which could last several days. He declined to say if Bergdahl would be among them, but he has said details would emerge about the circumstances surrounding Bergdahl’s disappearance from his post.

The Taliban held Bergdahl captive for five years until exchanging him for five Taliban commanders being held at the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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