By Lolita C. Baldor
WASHINGTON — A senior U.S. military commander is endorsing the decision to spare Army Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl prison time for abandoning his post in Afghanistan, endangering military comrades who participated in the lengthy search for him.
Army Gen. Robert Abrams, head of U.S. Army Forces Command, approved the court-martial sentencing handed down last November. Bergdahl was reduced in rank from sergeant to private and ordered to forfeit $1,000 a month in pay for 10 months. The judge also gave him a dishonorable discharge.
The fine and rank reduction were effective two weeks after the judge's sentence was delivered. The case is now referred to the Army Court of Criminal Appeals at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, which automatically reviews any punitive discharges.
Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban and held for five years.