(CBS) — The mother and stepfather of a Bartlett High School graduate killed in Afghanistan say their son died while searching for Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl, and they want to see Bergdahl prosecuted for desertion.
“The comments that have been made about bringing him home as a hero are very disconcerting to me,” said Cheryl Brandes, the mother of Army Pfc. Matthew Martinek, who was killed by a roadside bomb on Sept. 11, 2009.
WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports Brandes appeared on Fox News with Martinek’s stepfather, Ken Luccioni, who both said they want Bergdahl put on trial for desertion, and possibly treason.
Their son was among at least six soldiers believed to have lost their lives while searching for Bergdahl in the five hears he was a Taliban prisoner of war after going AWOL.
“There’s a code of justice that, when these young men sign up – and ladies sign up for the Armed Services – they agree to; and one of the things we want to make sure is that that code of justice is taken to the full extent,” Luccioni said. “This man has to be accountable for his actions.”
Brandes and Luccioni said their son would not want to see five Taliban commanders held at Guantanamo Bay traded for his life. They said he would give his life to keep terrorists behind bars.
“He would not want five extremely dangerous terrorists traded for his life,” Brandes said. “He would give his life, because he would be very worried on the consequences.”
Bergdahl was handed over to U.S. Army special forces Saturday in exchange for the release of five detainees at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba detention facility.
It is widely believed that Bergdahl walked off the base where he was stationed in Afghanistan in 2009. CBS News’ David Martin reports that one Pentagon official described him as “at worst, a deserter. At best, a stupid kid who caused us to expend great energy and resources to bring him home.”
There are a variety of offenses related to an absence without proper approval, and a number of potential actions could be taken by the military. He could be tried by court martial under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for desertion; he could be given a non-judicial punishment for a lesser charge, such as being away without leave. And he could be given credit for time already served while he was a prisoner.
Dempsey stressed that any decision would be up to the Army.
Retired General Stanley McChrystal defended risky search efforts that claimed the lives of some of Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers.
He said, “We don’t leave Americans behind.”
Bergdahl’s hometown has canceled the welcome home celebration for the soldier for security reasons.