The pre-trial hearing of Robert Bowdrie “Bowe” Bergdahl (pictured right) has been all over the news lately. I won’t recount his story here, but you can read the Wikipedia article on him for details. Today the court heard testimony from Major General Kenneth Dahl who had led the investigation into Bergdahl’s disappearance from his post in Afghanistan 6 years ago. Listening to the news reports, I could not help but be reminded of Terry Lakin (pictured left), the Army doctor and birther who served a prison term for not reporting for duty. Let me point out some items of similarity:
- Lakin and Bergdahl were highly regarded as soldiers by their peers.
- Lakin and Bergdahl had concerns about leadership. Lakin thought that the Commander in Chief (Obama) might not be legitimate. Bergdahl though his local commander was incompetent and corrupt.
- Lakin and Bergdahl staged an act of disobedience to force the issue. Lakin didn’t show up to deploy with his unit to Afghanistan. Bergdahl walked away from his post in Afghanistan.
- Both were charged with crimes by the Army.
- Lakin and Bergdahl both had delusions that their act would resolve their issues. Lakin thought that his trial would adjudicate Obama’s eligibility. Bergdahl thought that he would walk 24 miles across Taliban held territory to reach a larger command post where he could talk to a General about the leadership problems he saw.
- Lakin and Bergdahl’s actions put their units at risk. Lakin, a physician, didn’t deploy with his unit, forcing the Army to call up a less prepared doctor to go to Afghanistan. Bergdahl’s actions caused his unit to spend several days in dangerous territory looking for him.
- Lakin and Bergdahl both admit that what they did was misguided.
Terry Lakin was given a 6 month sentence (which he has served), and was dismissed from service. Bergdahl was held in horrific conditions by the Taliban for 5 years and faces a possible life sentence.