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Bowe Bergdahl is Many Things But a POW Isn’t One

Bowe who? I thought we were past that you say. Guy walks off on his buddies in a war zone, gets captured by the Taliban for 5 years and just recently avoided jail time for his actions. His actions that got fellow US Soldiers killed during the search for him and sent some nasty Gitmo dudes back to the battlefield.  All in all, Bowe Bergdahl is a _______, I’ll let you fill in the blank however you want. However, there is one word that is not allowed in the above empty space and that is Prisoner of War (POW.) I have to mention that because still to this day Bowe Bergdahl lawyer is lobbying for him to get the POW medal for his actions. I have no idea why as surely that medal would get a drink or two bought for you under normal circumstances. But if Bowe were to sport that medal it’s going to end poorly for dear old Bowe. Yet, his lawyer for some reason persists. Some might argue he technically meets the definition of a POW as in he was a soldier and was captured by the enemy at war. Well, to those I say let me tell you a few other Medal of Honor stories very briefly and let’s see if Bowe Bergdahl fits the mold.

But He Voluntarily was Captured?

It is true that Bowe Bergdahl was not the first soldier to leave the safety of his own men and walk into the arms of the enemy. In 1950, Army Chaplain Emil Kapaun was serving the men of the 8th Cavalry Regiment when 20,000 screaming Chinese soldiers rudely interrupted. Apparently they never learned to use their inside voice in church. As the rout of the American soldiers took place at Unsan, the order to retreat was given. Any who were able were to withdraw immediately. Kapaun apparent didn’t the get the text as he headed straight towards the Chinese and the wounded Americans.

At one point, Kapaun saw a wounded Chinese officer and raced under a hail of bullets to treat him. Meanwhile he negotiated a ceasefire with the Chinese officer to save the wounded. When a Chinese soldier tried to bayonet an American First Sergeant Kapaun pushed him out of the way to protect him. While a POW, Kapuan was known to give his own food and clothes to his fellow men despite the brutal freezing winters. When Kapaun finally fell mortally ill, the North Koreans picked him up and took him to death house against the pleadings of his fellow prisoners. To calm the men one last time he simply told them, “I’m going where I’ve always wanted to go.”

Now Mr. Kapuan above has a POW medal and were Bowe to receive one as well then he and Bowe would have precisely the same amount.  Does the account above sound like Bowe Bergdahl to you? Granted, there are many more mundane POW stories and Kapuan was awarded the Medal of Honor but the premise is still the same. If you think I cherry picked one amazing story of gallantry as a POW then let’s dive in for a few more and just raise your hand when you hear something that sounds like Bowe Bergdahl.

One for All and All for One

In January of 1945, Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds found himself in a German POW camp as the senior NCO in charge. A terrible fate in those days as he was responsible for issuing out the orders to his fellow captives that could determine their fate. On one January evening, Edmonds was faced a moral conflict few could overcome. He was given the order to have all Jewish prisoners fall out in formation in the morning. Just the Jewish prisoners. Understanding what this meant, Edmonds had a decision to make.

In the morning the Camp Commandant approached the formation in disbelief. Every prisoner in the camp had fallen out for formation with Edmonds at the front. Surely all these men could not be Jews quipped the Commandant as he ordered Edmonds to correct the situation. Roddie Edmonds simply replied, “We’re all Jews here.” Angered by the defiance, the commandant pulled out a pistol and placed it to the head of Edmonds. Once again, Edmonds defied telling the commandant if he shot him he would  be tried as a war criminal when the war they were sure to lose ended. In what might be considered the first “punk out” the commandant blinked. He put away his pistol and left.

So let’s play that game again. Out of either Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds or any other POW who fell out for formation that day, do you hear anything that resembles Bowe Bergdahl? The list goes on and on throughout history and it’s not exclusive to America. I could tell you the story of Sir Douglas Bader of the Royal Air Force who was literally the Lieutenant Dan of pilots as he didn’t have any legs. When he was shot down and captured, Bader made so many escape attempts the Germans literally had to take the dude’s prosthetic legs from him. Charles Upham was a Kiwi and two time recipient of the Victoria Cross who made so many escape attempts the Germans respected him. On one such occasion Upham just tried to run out the front gates and the German guard didn’t have the heart to shoot the man they respected as a POW.

Does that Sound like Bowe?

Does any of that above or the countless mundane stories sound like Bowe Bergdahl. Because as far as I can count all those men and Bergdahl would have the same number of POW medals if Bowe were to get one. Bowe is not a POW, the man is a deserter. It’s like giving Benedict Arnold an American POW medal for all the time he spent with the British. Just take the cue below from the POW coin see below from Military Nations.  They make great coins and it’s not an affiliate link as I don’t make money if you buy one. Pointing out fellow Vet businesses when congruent is just fine by me though. Back to the coin. This coin was not designed to be owned only by those who were POWs themselves, but by all those at home waiting for them.

The phrase “Bring Bowe Home or Send Us Back” is simply not a phrase you would ever hear from a US Veteran. That coin is for all those who would mean it to bring home all those who truly earned a POW medal. This is not an attack on Bowe personally as I don’t know the dude. Rather, it’s a cry in the wilderness to defend valor and history. Jesus can forgive everyone and Jesus can forgive Bowe. But I still don’t think Jesus would give him a POW medal. Think of any POW story you can imagine and ask if sounds like Bowe. Ask yourself if you would say, “Bring Bowe Home or Send Us Back.” Sorry Bowe, but no soup for you. Let’s pray all this is dropped and we can close the unremarkable chapter of Bowe Bergdahl. If Bowe needs a friend, I hear Jane Fonda is looking for one.

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Jeff Edwards

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