Why SGT. Bowe Bergdahl should be held accountable for desertion...December 17, 2016
Jimmy is a former teammate, a good man and he almost died trying to rescue Mr. Bergdahl. Worth a read...
My name is James Hatch. On 9 July 2009 I was injured on a specific mission to rescue Sgt. Bergdahl. Prior to the mission, we’d been told that Sgt. Bergdahl had deserted his post and fallen into enemy hands. Because hostage rescue is something we trained for in my special missions unit, we were tasked with the rescue attempt near the Afghanistan‐Pakistan border. The conditions that night were poor. But we were told it would be one of the last chances to get him. And even though we knew he was a deserter who was putting us all in a bad spot, we boarded helicopters and went after him. My personal motivation involved the fact that I did not want Sgt. Bergdahl’s mother to see her son executed on YouTube, as Daniel Pearl’s mother had. We landed under heavy fire, which included machine‐gun fire and rockets directed at our helicopters. The ensuing hours were violent. My unit lost a working K9 and I was shot in the right distal femur. The K9’s name was Remco. He was a fierce and terrific dog. He was shot a few feet from me. Here is a description of that moment: We were rushing an entrenched enemy and had closed within twenty feet when one of them shot Remco in the face with an AK‐47. Etched on my hard drive is the sight of the two rounds going into Remco, and the shocks of the bullets lifting him a bit, and pushing him back and then straight down. One of the bullets tore away much of Remco’s jaw. Because the sound and muzzle flash from the shooter’s weapon had revealed his location, I kept rushing him, put my laser on his face and pumped bullets into him. In the moments after his muzzle flash outlined him, I had acquired a good enough sight picture of his head to know he wasn’t an American. I saw the bullets hit. He was in a ditch, firing on his knees. As I was running, I stepped forward on my right leg and then – wham ‐ something went through my femur, and the leg completely collapsed on me. I’d been shot by a second fellow in the ditch, a panicking guy wildly firing his AK‐47 under the pressure of our assault. My femur was shattered, and much of it punched out the back of my thigh. Lying there, bleeding, I could sense the shrapnel from detonating grenades slinging through the weeds around me. Men rushed to my aid. How they saved me, under fire, is extraordinary. They were put in grave danger as a result of having to rescue me in the middle of that serious gunfight, as was an entire helicopter crew, which flew back into the melee to retrieve me. The injury I sustained that night ended my 20‐year career in Naval Special Warfare (a career I loved) and commenced a year‐long journey to save my leg, and my mind. These two projects involved me undergoing eighteen surgeries and being admitted to six different hospitals in twelve months. The damage to my psyche has been considerable. I still live with the aftermath.
I request that Sgt. Bergdahl be held accountable for his actions, which put my unit at great risk and are the reason that I will walk with a limp for the rest of my life. Sgt. Bergdahl is an American and deserves his day in court. He has earned that day in court. He needs to be held accountable for his decisions.
Senior Chief Petty Officer (RET) USN