POW, Deserter or Traitor? Military Back Pay & Special Compensation for Bergdahl May Lead to Big Sum
By Kyle Becker 2 hours ago
Alleged deserter Bowe Bergdahl may receive compensation by the U.S. military for being held in captivity by the Taliban for five years, depending on how his status is classified.
If Bergdahl is deemed to have been a “POW” and receives military backpay for his time of service, he could claim more than $300,000 from U.S. taxpayers.
Military.com breaks down the possible compensation scenarios:
Service members designated by the Defense Department as “captive, missing or missing in action” are entitled to receive back pay and allowances, officials said. Any additional pay and allowances earned such as promotions or special entitlements are not issued until they are officially recovered or classified as deceased.
Based on service length and known pay rates, Bergdahl’s back pay and hostile fire pay would be about $150,000.
If he is designated as a “Captive or Prisoner of War,” Bergdahl could also receive special compensation that would total about $148,000. The $148,000 would include Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS), and station per diem over the past five years. This figure does not include interest these payments would have earned over the past five years.
Bergdahl could forfeit back pay, allowances, military compensation and veterans benefits if he is found guilty on desertion or Absence Without Leave (AWOL) charges, however.
Six of Bergdahl’s platoon mates who served with him and were present the night he disappeared from his base in southeastern Afghanistan allege that the soldier left willingly and sought out the Taliban.
Other reports claims that he made careful plans to leave his unit (such as mailing back valuables mid-tour), asked questions about taking military firearms, took with him survival items (including a digital camera and a notebook), and left behind a note renouncing his citizenship.
A Fox News report broken by James Rosen asserts that Bergdahl converted to Islam and may have declared jihad against the United States. Whether or not this was coerced or a function of Stockholm syndrome is currently unclear, and intelligence reports about the case are still classified.
Nonetheless, the Obama administration said that the platoon mates have no idea what might have happened that night, and National Security Adviser Susan Rice has repeatedly claimed that while Bowe Bergdahl served with “honor and distinction,” all the facts about this case are not yet known.