This segment continues our series discussing Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's case, including the many personnel and management issues involved, as it's examined in the podcast "Serial."
In the second episode of season 2 of Serial, "The Golden Chicken," which went live on Dec. 17, we heard about what happened in the aftermath of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's disappearance. Perhaps most prominently discussed was the exhaustive, grueling 90-day search for him that demoralized troops across Afghanistan.
As the operational tempo doubled, sometimes tripled, in the search, all other operations came to a halt — even the search for Osama bin Laden, sources said in the podcast. Planning was difficult because nobody knew how long the search would go on, or what the latest pieces of intelligence would reveal — or if that intelligence even was valid.
The impact on personnel was significant, and it was brutal, as interview after interview in the podcast revealed.
The troops searching for Bergdahl "knew, or were at least pretty confident, that Bowe had left [his post] voluntarily, and now they felt like they were going through hell on his behalf," Serial host Sarah Koenig said in the episode. "Most of the people I talked to about this time, they said the search inflicted such major damage on morale."
When one of Bergdahl's platoon mates, Shane Cross, "accidentally" shot himself in the foot on a brief break from searching, "the other guys saw it as a statement about how beaten down they were, how they'd all had enough," Koenig said.