Local former prisoners of war react to Bergdahl's release

Two former prisoners of war from East Tennessee are asking for answers following the controversial release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

The Taliban freed the Idaho native Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for five Guantanamo Bay detainees last week. Upon his release, some of Bergdahl's former infantrymen criticized him as a deserter for his actions leading up to his capture.

One person even recommended Bergdahl stand trial for deserting his post.

Previous Story: Bergdahl chided as 'deserter,' not hero

The latest news regarding Bergdahl's release have left retired Major Gerald Lay, of Kingston, conflicted. He was in a German P.O.W. camp for five months during World War II.

"The circumstances behind it, two things bother me," he said. "One, they say he deserted, that's not good, and then to trade those four extremists for him, I worry about that."

More Information: Maj. Gerald Lay's P.O.W. Story

But, Lay doesn't want to label Bergdahl as a deserter until he has all of the facts.

"I can't imagine, personally, walking away from my unit and these people I'm with and serving with," he said. "I can't see how a person would do it."

Madisonville resident, Capt. Bill Robinson, agrees. The Vietnam era veteran was the longest held, enlisted P.O.W. in American history.

More Information: Captain Bill Robinson's P.O.W. Story

Robinson said he now has questions about what is true and what is not true, but he said Bergdahl should be given time to recover.

"Give the young man some privacy and allow him to put his thoughts together," he said. "And, you know we need to pray for all the families who lost their loved ones trying to bring this young man home."


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment