Amid charges from his platoon that he is a deserter or even a traitor, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, nevertheless, is scheduled for promotion.
CNN cited a defense official saying he will be considered for promotion because he hasn’t been classified as a deserter.
But the official also said the Army needs to hear Bergdahl’s explanation of why he wandered away from base and how he got captured.
After his capture by the Taliban in June 2009, Bergdahl was promoted to the rank of specialist in June 2010 and sergeant in June 2011.
He was exchanged Saturday for the release of five Taliban commanders from the U.S. prison in Guantanamo, Cuba. Bergdahl is now in a U.S. military in Germany while the terrorist leaders are moving about freely in Qatar after having been received with a hero’s welcome.
Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Tuesday in an interview with the Associated Press that the Army could still pursue an investigation in which Bergdahl could face desertion or other charges.
Dempsey said Bergdahl’s next promotion, to staff sergeant, is not automatic, because he isn’t missing in action any longer.
The general told the AP he does not want to prejudge the outcome of any investigation.
While service members missing in action are routinely promoted on the same schedule as their peers, Bergdahl’s status has now changed, Dempsey explained.
For Bergdahl, the requirements for promotion, such as proper levels of education and job performance, now “are more consistent with normal duty status.”
Promotion may be the least of Bergdahl’s worries as he could be tried by court martial under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for desertion.
As WND reported, Bergdahl’s squad leader at the time he went missing has claimed that Bergdahl “abandoned his post,” leaving “four guys sleeping with no one covering them.”
Critics charging Bergdahl could be a traitor, WND reported, point to a 2010 report by the Sunday Times of London that Bergdahl may have converted to Islam and taught jihadi fighters how to make bombs and ambush convoys.