(WTVM) – Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. Army sergeant who went missing from his base in 2009 while serving in eastern Afghanistan, was formally charged with desertion and misbehaving before the enemy on Wednesday, according to Army officials.
But what does "misbehaving before the enemy" mean?
The law, formally known as U.S. Code 899 - Article 99, lists nine ways one person can be charged under this offense. The list of offenses, according to the Cornell Law website are "any member of the armed forced who before or in the presence of the enemy" includes:
- Running away
- Shamefully abandoning, surrendering, or delivering up any command, unit, place, or military property which it is his duty to defend;
- Through disobedience, neglect, or intentional misconduct endangers the safety of any such command, unit, place, or military property
- Casting away his arms or ammunition
- Is guilty of cowardly conduct
- Quitting his or her place of duty to plunder or pillage
- Causes false alarms in any command, unit, or place under control of the armed forces
- Willfully fails to do his utmost to encounter, engage, capture, or destroy any enemy troops, combatants, vessels, aircraft, or any other thing, which it is his duty so to encounter, engage, capture, or destroy
- Does not afford all practicable relief and assistance to any troops, combatants, vessels, or aircraft of the armed forces belonging to the United States or their allies when engaged in battle
U.S. Army Colonel Daniel King said in a press conference on Wednesday that Bergdahl's misbehaving before the enemy charge is because he was "endangering the safety of a command unit or place." If convicted, Bergdahl could face up to live in prison or death.
Bergdahl, who has also been charged with one count of desertion, will now have an Article 32, or investigative, hearing at Fort Sam Houston in Texas, where after he could be referred to a court-martial hearing. A date for the Article 32 hearing was not announced during the formal press conference at Fort Bragg on Wednesday.
Bergdahl, who was held captive by Taliban for five years, was released in a prisoner exchange in 2014; the circumstances of his capture are still unclear. He is currently on active duty administrative job in Texas.