© Getty Images
Former Navy SEAL Jimmy Hatch says Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl “needs to know how much was risked” to try to save him after he was captured by the Taliban.
“I want that kid to have his day in court, because he’s an American, and he’s got that coming,” Hatch said in an interview on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” on Friday.
Bergdahl, who allegedly walked off of his eastern Afghanistan base in June 2009, has been charged with one count of desertion and one count of misbehavior before the enemy.
Hatch dismissed the notion that Bergdahl had “suffered enough” for his actions after remaining in enemy captivity for nearly five years.
“People say, well, maybe he’s suffered enough, because he was held captive,” Hatch said. “Well that’s kind of like saying, if I go out and drink a bunch of vodka tonight and slam into a car with children in it and hurt them, but I get paralyzed from the waist down, that because I got paralyzed, I’ve been punished enough. No, I still need to be held accountable for the decisions I made.”
Hatch said "it's important that Americans know" about the sacrifices of the men who tried to save Bergdahl.
Hatch was hit by AK-47 fire and lost his right leg in a failed late-night rescue mission to try to bring Bergdahl back.
He later became depressed, abused painkillers and alcohol, and contemplated suicide, at one point sticking a gun in his mouth in front of his wife.
The Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient said he initially blamed himself for the mission’s failure.
“I get hit, that changes the plan, so we have to kind of concentrate some resources on the screaming guy and get the helicopters in there and get him out,” Hatch said.
“I took a lot of it out on myself,” he said. “I felt like, you know, maybe if I’d have done things a little bit differently, not gotten hurt, you know, the mission wouldn’t have failed.”
Hatch said he was motivated to try to rescue Bergdahl because “he had a mom, and I didn’t want his mom to see him get his head chopped off on YouTube.”
During the rescue mission, a dog named Remco, trained to find enemy soldiers in low-visibility encounters, drew fire from and exposed enemy combatants in front of Hatch.
Hatch credits Remco, who was killed, with saving his life, and has started Spike’s Canine Fund, an organization dedicated to providing medical care and proper protection to police dogs, search-and-rescue dogs, and dogs that can be hurt or killed in the line of duty.
Tags Bowe Bergdahl