The 28-year-old sergeant vanished from a military base in Eastern Afghanistan with little more than a compass and a bottle of water. Considerable resources were diverted to try to find the missing man, and several of his fellow soldiers were killed trying to find him.
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"I was pissed off then and I am even more so now with everything going on," former Sgt. Matt Vierkant, a member of Bergdahl's platoon when he went missing, told CNN. "Bowe Bergdahl deserted during a time of war and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him."
One of the Facebook groups claimed to have been set up by Bergdahl's former "battle buddies" who had "first hand knowledge of what took place" on the day of the soldier's disappearance.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel declined to comment on reports that the sergeant had walked away from his unit. Such matters "will be dealt with later," Hagel said.
The defense secretary pointedly described Bergdahl as a "prisoner of war."
While some questioned the circumstances Bergdahl's disappearance, others, including prominent Republicans, were unhappy with the manner of his release, claiming that the swap deal amounted to negotiating with terrorists and effectively put a price tag on the heads of all U.S. servicemen.