You can now read 10 articles a month for free. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Bergdahl discharged from Coast Guard before joining Army

Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl spent just short of a month in basic training with the US Coast Guard in early 2006 before he was given an administrative discharge, military officials said Wednesday.

The disclosure that Bergdahl failed to make it through the Coast Guard’s boot camp might raise questions about whether he should have been allowed to enlist in the Army in 2008.

Continue reading below

Bergdahl walked off his base in eastern Afghanistan on June 30, 2009, setting off a manhunt throughout Paktika province. He was captured by the Taliban and held for nearly five years before being handed over last month to American commandos in Afghanistan in exchange for the release of five Taliban detainees being held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

Before he became a Taliban prisoner, before he wrote in his journal, ‘‘I am the lone wolf of deadly nothingness,’’ before he ever joined the Army, Bergdahl was discharged from the Coast Guard for psychological reasons, said close friends who were worried about his emotional health at the time.

The 2006 discharge and a trove of Bergdahl’s writing provided to the Washington Post paint a portrait of a deeply complicated and fragile young man who was by his own account struggling to maintain his mental stability from the start of basic training until the moment in 2009 when he walked off his post in eastern Afghanistan.

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week