WASHINGTON, D.C. — Three former members of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's platoon spoke to The Associated Press on Tuesday about Bergdahl's disappearance, his freedom and how he should be treated now that he's out. The interviews were facilitated by a public relations firm, Capitol Media Partners, co-owned by Republican strategist Richard Grenell. All three men said Bergdahl should be investigated for desertion. Army Secretary John McHugh said Tuesday that after Bergdahl has recovered, the Army will "review" the circumstances of his disappearance.
Joshua Cornelison, 25, who was a medic in the platoon:
Cornelison said Bergdahl was unusually reluctant to talk to fellow soldiers about his personal life or his background.
"He was very, very quiet. He kept everything very close to the vest," Cornelison said, speaking from Sacramento, California. "So, after he actually left, the following morning we realized we have Bergdahl's weapon, we have Bergdahl's body armor, we have Bergdahl's sensitive equipment (but) we don't have Bowe Bergdahl." At that point, Cornelison said, it occurred to him that Bergdahl was "that one guy that wanted to disappear, and now he's gotten his wish."
Cornelison, who completed his Army service in 2012, said he believes Bergdahl should be held accountable.
"Bowe Bergdahl needs to be held 100 percent accountable for all of his irresponsibility and all of his actions. He willfully deserted his post and he needs to be held accountable for that," he said.
Evan Buetow, 27, who was a sergeant in the platoon:
Buetow, speaking from Maple Valley, Washington, said Bergdahl had asked him a number of questions a short time before his disappearance that, in retrospect, make it apparent that Bergdahl had been planning to leave.
Bergdahl asked him, for example, how much of a cash advance he could get and how to go about mailing home his personal computer and other belongings. He also asked what would happen if his weapon and other sensitive items such as night vision goggles went missing. He said he told Bergdahl that, as any soldier would know, that would be "a big deal."