Army veterans defend Bergdahl statements


by Whitney Harding

Posted on June 4, 2014 at 11:29 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 4 at 11:29 PM

(WHAS11) – Former Army specialist Joey Cox spoke passionately against the trade the United States made to get Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl back from the Taliban.

Many are questioning the validity of these stories, and Cox posed the question – who would know what happened better than the soldiers in Afghanistan?
Cox says he will never forget the first day he met Staff Sgt. Michael Murphey.
"The man welcomed me to the unit. He took me under his wing as soon as I arrived at Fort Richardson, Alaska,” he said. "It's just really sad to see one of my best friends who was killed looking for a man portrayed as a national hero, when he was the real hero."
The other man Cox is talking about is Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, the Taliban prisoner of war who was exchanged to the United States for five Guantanamo Bay prisoners.
For Cox, Bergdahl's return is far from something to celebrate. 
"Basically, the guy just walked off the base in the middle of the night. He grabbed a knife, a couple knives, a camera, some water and said he was ashamed to be an American," he said.
Cox isn’t the only Army veteran to throw out the term “deserter.” 
Bergdahl’s former squad leader Justin Gerleve believes something fishy happened but it was the right move to get Bergdahl back.
"My opinion on that is, yes – no American needs to be left behind. Then again, it goes against to, he needs to be accountable for his actions, accountable for what he did and he needs to withstand a trial," he said.
Wednesday, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said it is unfair to jump to conclusions with regards to Bergdahl.
"We don't do that in the United States. We rely on facts," Hagel said/.
For Cox, the facts are simple – he lost his best friend.
"The biggest thing here is just remembering the actual heroes who did serve this nation honorably and the ones who lost their lives looking for this man who we are now portraying as a national hero whose really not," Cox said.
Bergdahl is in stable condition at an American Military Hospital in Germany. 
The Army has promised a complete review into his capture.