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Sgt. Bowe's long and winding case: the next chapter begins

It is understatement to note that a military blog must necessarily trace material developments that unfold regarding Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

Bowe has been omnipresent in the media since being freed last May in an exchange involving five Taliban prisoners. Prior to his release, he had been held in captivity by the Taliban for about five years after being captured when he left his post in Afghanistan.

We last left off with Bowe in a January 2 blog post, in which we noted "the long and winding saga" that has captured the nation's attention. Not only has Bowe's story been riveting; it has also resulted in a sharp division between persons who believe the sergeant should simply be allowed to go about his life following military discharge and others who think he should suffer harsh consequences for desertion.

Our above-cited entry noted the involvement of a senior military officer in the case tasked with determining its future course of developments.

That officer, Gen. Mark Milley, has now weighed in on the matter, citing just yesterday the Army's decision to charge Bergdahl with one count each of desertion and misbehavior. The next step in the case will involve a procedure to assess the appropriateness of the charges. Ultimately, Bowe could face a court-martial proceeding.

The potential consequences of that are wide-ranging. Bowe could receive a life term in a military prison. Other possibilities include demotion of rank, forfeiture of pay and, of course, an honorable discharge with no loss of benefits.

The case prominently highlights many aspects of military law. It also underscores any accused servicemember's strong need to secure knowledgeable and aggressive input from a proven military defense attorney.

Source: CNN, "New Bergdahl letter outlines torture," Eric Bradner, Barbara Starr and Ed Lavandera, March 26, 2015

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