Lest we forget: the six soldiers who died searching for Bergdahl
Bowe Bergdahl’s departure from his post and the events that followed are controversial. He either deserted, as many of his former comrades at the base believe, or for legitimate reasons as yet unknown (dazed and confused?), wandered off. Then he was either captured by, or sought out Taliban forces. Somehow or other, he managed to learn Pashto in his years of captivity and reportedly has forgotten much of his English. As a devoted viewer of Homeland, various possibilities occur to me.
But one thing that is not controversial is that six brave men died searching for him, whatever his motives and responsibilities were for his disappearance from his duty post. At Time Magazine, Mark Thompson reminds us of who the heroes are:
Staff Sergeant Clayton Bowen, 29, of San Antonio, Texas, and Private 1st Class Morris Walker, 23, of Chapel Hill, N.C., were killed by a roadside bomb in Paktika province on Aug. 18, 2009, while trying to find Bergdahl. Like Bergdahl, they were part of the 4th BCT from Fort Richardson, Alaska.
Bowen’s mother last heard from her son the night before he died. “Clay called me around midnight to tell me I
wouldn’t hear from him for a few days,” she said. She never heard from him again, although she can still hear his voice in the two CDs he recorded with the 82nd Airborne All-American Chorus. “He was the only bass in the group,” she said, “so you could always hear him.” (snip)
Staff Sergeant Kurt Curtiss, 27, of Murray, Utah, died Aug. 26 in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when he was shot while his unit was supporting Afghan security forces during an enemy attack. Like Bergdahl, Bowen and Walker, he was part of the 4th BCT.
“I’ll never forget you Kurt,” Adrian Ramirez a fellow soldier from Fort Richardson, posted on a memorial site. “You were my first team leader from the beginning and my squad leader to the end. I will miss you and all the memories I have shared with you.”
2nd Lieutenant Darryn Andrews, 34, of Dallas, Texas, died Sept. 4 in Paktika Province when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device and a rocket-propelled grenade. Like Bergdahl, Bowen, Walker and Curtiss, Andrews was part of the 4th BCT.
“We grew up with an enormous amount of pride for our nation,” Andrews’ mother, Sondra, toldthe Amarillo Globe-News. That was understandable: his father. grandfather and uncle had served in uniform. “We passed it on to our children, never thinking we would pay the ultimate sacrifice.”
Staff Sergeant Michael Murphrey, 25, of Snyder, Texas, died Sept. 6 in Paktika province after being wounded by an IED. Like Bergdahl, Bowen, Walker, Curtiss and Andrews, Murphrey was part of the 4th BCT.
“On his 17th birthday his family took him skydiving and after that,” his obituary read, “he decided he wanted to be an Army paratrooper.”
On Sept. 4, 2009, Private 1st Class Matthew Martinek, 20, of DeKalb, Ill., was seriously wounded in Paktika province when Taliban forces attacked his vehicle with an improvided explosive device, a rocket-propelled grenade and small-arms fire.
The U.S. military rushed him to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany—the same medical facility where Bergdahl is now being treated.
Bergdahl and the Obama administration both have a lot of questions to answer. If anyone is tempted to celebrate Bowe Bergdahl as a hero, think first of these six genuine heroes.
Hat tip: Ed Lasky