Friends Of Korean War POW's Weigh In On Bergdahl - kcentv.com - KCEN HD - Waco, Temple, and Killeen

Friends Of Korean War POW's Weigh In On Bergdahl

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(KCEN) -- Central Texas veterans who know all too well what it means to be a prisoner of war, (POW), are weighing in on the controversial release of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.

One of the White House's reasons for trading the 5-year prisoner of the Taliban for five known terrorists more than a week ago has been the part of the "Soldier's Creed" and "U.S. Army's Warrior Ethos" swearing to, "never leave a fallen comrade."

To this day, hundreds of American troops taken prisoner during "The Forgotten War" never made it home from Korea, and arrangements to pay North Koreans to excavate their remains and send them back to the U.S. are currently on hold.

Army Veteran Robert O'Brien watched friends forever disappear into captivity during the conflict.

"You're fighting hand-to-hand, and then they're gone, " says Army Veteran Robert O'Brien.

He also came face to face with those who barely made it home.  

"I was there doing the changing of the prisoners coming back," says O'Brien.

Now  Bergdahl's recent release brings those brutal images back for the former infantryman, but he says things were much different for Bergdahl, who reportedly walked off of a forward operating base in Afghanistan on June 30, 2009.
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"In the Korean War, they suffered. A lot of them came back in real bad shape. He looked pretty good when we put him in that helicopter," says O'Brien.

Fellow infantryman Thom Snyder deployed to Korea in January of 1952.

He too remembers quite different circumstances for those taken prisoner.

"There was no patriation deal. They signed a peace treaty, and they were let go, and that's the way it should be done," says Snyder.

He says he is glad Bergdahl is safe, but fears the terrorists he was traded for will, "come back to haunt," the United States.

One has already vowed to return to the fight and kill Americans.

It's a  threat Secretary of State John Kerry calls, "a lot of bologna."

"They will wind up putting themselves at the mercy of those people who are very effective, who are there, who will deal with those matters," Kerry said.

O'Brien called the "Soldier's Creed" deeply sacred, but while he agrees with every word of the solemn oath he took, he says he disagrees with the President making the executive decision to uphold it.

"That's not the way to do it, you go through the Congress and live by laws. We do," O'Brien said.

While he and Snyder may never get closure when it comes to what happened to their comrades, they can only hope the loved ones of the six who died decades later in the search for Bergdahl get theirs.

O'Brien says, "I want him to come back, be honest with the American people, find out what his whole reason was. they know it."
    
Reporter: Sophia Stamas sstamas@kcentv.com
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