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Letter: Bowe Bergdahl's light sentence was unjust

I want to comment and maybe also educate citizens on the recent events regarding Bowe Bergdahl (deserter) covered in the national news. Bergdahl left his post and went missing for approximately five years. Countless military members searched for ...

I want to comment and maybe also educate citizens on the recent events regarding Bowe Bergdahl (deserter) covered in the national news. Bergdahl left his post and went missing for approximately five years. Countless military members searched for him and in some cases lost their lives, were maimed for life or wounded. Eventually, he was traded for five known terrorists by the last presidential regime. This traitor even received back pay for his alleged incarceration.

A little history: How many deserters have been executed (accordingly to military law) since the Civil War? One. His name was Eddie Slovik. He was a private in a rifle company serving in France in the winter of 1944 in the 28th Infantry. His company came under heavy artillery fire and he panicked and told his superiors that he was too scared to continue in his current capacity and asked to be reassigned in the rear. His request was denied. He then left his post and hid out with a Red Cross unit for a period of time before turning himself in. He did so with the impression that he would be charged and sentenced to jail. He couldn't have been more wrong.

At his court martial in 1945, he was sentenced to death by firing squad. He appealed and even wrote to President Roosevelt asking for clemency, but was denied. On Jan 31, 1945, he was executed.

During World War II, 21,000 military personnel were charged with the same offense, but given lighter sentences and no death penalty. The movie based this incident was made with Martin Sheen playing Slovik. I recommend all watch it for it's lack of impact on the Bergdahl case.

My motive for writing about this issue is that, as a disabled veteran, I cannot fathom the release of Bergdahl with no sentence of jail time or even execution, which is prescribed by military law. All he got was reduction in rank and a dishonorable discharge. He did not even have to reimburse the government for his backpay. I'm appalled at the lack of sensitivity and the lack of responses to this.

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In closing, if you know or have a relative that is an active, retired or disabled vet, give him or her a hug, acknowledge and thank them for their service. Not a lot of us hang our time in the military on our sleeves. Maybe the world is just ignorant and apathetic. In other words, they don't know and don't care.

Rapp lives in Fargo.

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