Bergdahl leaves Hailey, Idaho, to join the Army after jobs on an Alaskan fishing boat, cleaning guns at a shooting club, and crewing on a sailboat trip from South Carolina to California. After seven months of military training, Bergdahl flew to Afghanistan in February 2009.
June 30, 2009:
Bergdahl disappears during the night from his one-man pup tent next to the truck that served as his post as his unit guarded a stretch of riverbed. His body armor and weapon were left behind. Within a day, a radio operator intercepted Afghans chatting about their new bargaining chip. Days earlier, Bergdahl told his parents in an email that an Army vehicle had run over a girl, but “we don’t even care when we hear each other talk about running their children down in the dirt streets with our armored trucks.”
July 4, 2009:
Bergdahl’s family learn of his capture.
July 18, 2009:
Word of Bergdahl’s capture reaches the American public when the Taliban releases a video.
Bergdahl makes an escape attempt after several months when his jailers became more trusting of him. His captors found him three days later hiding in a trench, covered with leaves. The sources described Bergdahl fighting “like a boxer” when found.
June 7, 2012:
Rolling Stone magazine reports that emails Bowe Bergdahl sent his parents before he was captured suggest he was disillusioned and considering deserting.
June 20, 2013:
The Afghan Taliban say they are ready to free Bergdahl in exchange for five of their senior operatives imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay.
Jan. 16, 2013:
“Proof of life” video of Bowe Bergdahl surfaces. CNN reports the video shows Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl of Hailey in “diminished health” from the effects of almost five years in captivity.
May 21, 2014:
Hailey residents begin planning a June 28 “Bring Bowe Back” rally for the five year anniversary of Bergdahl’s capture. The event would include singer Carole King and organizers predicted 7,000 people to attend.
May 31, 2014:
U.S. special forces in Afghanistan collect Bergdahl as part of an exchange for five Taliban commanders who were imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. America’s only military captive in the 13-year Afghan conflict returns home to debate over the cost of his freedom and anger from Republican lawmakers. Investigators with the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office later agree that the Pentagon broke the law by failing to notify congressional committees at least 30 days in advance of the exchange. After his release, former soldiers who served with him labeled him a deserter and said he should be held accountable for leaving his post. Others suggested that troops were put in danger, and even killed, as they tried to find Bergdahl.
March 25, 2015:
Bergdahl was charged with misbehavior before the enemy, which carries a maximum sentence of up to life in prison, and desertion, which carries a maximum of five years. His case now goes to the military equivalent of a grand jury hearing to be held at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, which will determine whether Bergdahl will be tried on the charges. A date for that hearing was not announced.