Celestial Lands The Religious Crossroads of Politics, Power, and Theology

He’s Still An American Soldier

In the center of the Soldier’s Creed, the center of the Warrior Ethos taught to every U.S. Soldier from the first day of basic training is the phrase “I Will Never Leave a Fallen Comrade”.  Apparently some have forgotten that.

Yesterday I was flabbergasted when I heard a “Military Analyst”, a retired U.S. Army Lt. Colonel, say on Fox News that the Taliban could save the U.S. some money, implying that they should either keep or kill Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl, a 23 year old soldier from Iowa who is being held captive by the Taliban. PFC Bergdahl has recently been shown in a propaganda video the Taliban has placed on the web.

I was then even more flabbergasted when the same Army Lt. Col. called into a radio show to defend his statements, and to claim he was not calling for the Taliban to kill or keep this soldier in captivity (which his statement on Fox News clearly implied). Far from apologizing, he launched into an attack upon the media, and even went so far as to yell at the radio host “Do You Even Know Any Soldiers!!!”

Now, I will admit that the circumstances around PFC Bergdahl leaving his Forward Operating Base (FOB) alone are in need of investigation… not just his actions, but what kind of security allowed him to just walk away. I will admit that he should not be called or framed as a “hero”… but I say that about most soldiers unless they show extraordinary heroism (like the soldier who recently foiled a bank robbery in his home town, and was awarded the Soldier’s Medal). I have written before that the desire to call all of our soldier’s “Hero’s” has a lot more to do with civilian discomfort with others fighting in their place than it has to do with actual heroics… and it demeans what it means to truly be a hero.

That said, Private Bergdahl is still an American Soldier, held in captivity by an opposing force. How he got there is irrelevant to that fact. Until a courts martial says otherwise, he is still a soldier. When I or any Army Lt. Colonel say “I will never leave a fallen comrade” in reciting the Soldier’s Creed, that includes Private Bergdahl. Period. These commitments we make to our nation and to each other, like the ceremonies that remind us of those commitments, are the difference between a Soldier and a Mercenary. If we go the route of the comments by that particular military analyst, the U.S. Army becomes a mob.

Colonel… I know many soldiers. I am a soldier.  As a Chaplain Candidate I no longer carry a weapon, though I did in the jungles of Latin America and in the snows of Bosnia. I am the son of a Soldier, the great-grandson of one of the most famous soldiers in American history… and though your comments show you may have forgotten the creed you served under, you are a soldier too.

And so is Private Bowe Bergdahl.

The U.S. Soldier’s Creed
I am an American Soldier.
I am a Warrior and a member of a team.
I serve the people of the United States, and live the Army Values.
I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.
I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills.
I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.
I am an expert and I am a professional.
I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy, the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.
I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.
I am an American Soldier.

Yours in Faith,


6 Thoughts on “He’s Still An American Soldier

  1. The Eclectic Cleric on Tuesday July 21, 2009 at 20:48 +0000 said:

    You can’t just leave us hanging like this, name-dropping without actually naming the name that you’ve dropped. Who, for god’s sake, is your great-grandfather?

  2. Words fail me. Imagine the damage this “military analyst” has done to morale – of the troops and PFC Bergdahl’s family. Oy.

  3. And then there’s Rachel Maddow’s take on it all.

  4. Its my blog… I can leave you hanging if I want! 😉

    Give you a hint… that side of my family comes from middle Tennessee.

  5. David–that made it downright easy.

    A truly brave man.

  6. But not so great in the family department… sigh.

Leave a Reply

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: