The officer in charge of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s Article 32 preliminary hearing has recommended that the soldier accused of desertion avoid jail time for his actions, according to Bergdahl’s civil defense attorney.
Lt. Col. Mark Visger’s report to Gen. Robert Abrams, the head of Army Forces Command who is in charge of the case, also will advise that the matter be decided at a special court-martial, lawyer Eugene Fidell told Army Times on Saturday, confirming reports in other media outlets. Soldiers facing special courts-martial can receive no more than a year in jail and no worse than a bad-conduct discharge; punishments regarding hard labor and pay forfeiture have similar restrictions.
Visger also recommended Bergdahl not face a punitive discharge for his alleged actions, Fidell said. A memo from Bergdahl’s defense team to Visger regarding the report — released late Friday by Fidell to media members — said the officer’s recommendations didn’t go far enough and requested nonjudicial punishment, better known as an Article 15, instead of a special court-martial.