The Curious Case of PFC Robert Garwood, America’s Last Vietnam POW


Let’s start with this:

With the circumstances of Bergdahl’s disappearance no longer in any substantial doubt, the remaining outrage has focused on the Obama administration’s decision to trade five high-value Taliban terror detainees for him – several years after the Pentagon decided he wasn’t worth recovering.

Yet it appears the administration believed it would win a PR victory big enough to eclipse any legalistic hand-wringing on Capitol Hill, and whatever objections might surface among the military rank-and-file.

A White House official told MailOnline on Monday morning that Obama’s deputies were caught flatfooted by the intensity of public outrage in some quarters after Bergdahl’s rescue by Special Forces.

‘Everyone thought this would be a January 1981 moment,’ the insider said, referring to the negotiated release of 52 U.S. hostages in Iran after 444 days in captivity.

I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that there aren’t any military veterans in Obama’s inner circle. If there were I would expect that they would have told him that ransoming a deserter would not sit well with the millions of men and women who served in uniform.

But you can’t really blame them for guessing wrong, right? It’s not like anything like this has ever happened before, has it?

The story of Marine Pvt. Bobby Garwood is one of the strangest of the strange war America fought in Vietnam from 1959 to 1975. Captured by the Viet Cong in 1965, Garwood spent 14 years in North Vietnamese prisoner-of-war camps, and when he was finally released in 1979, he came home not to a grateful nation but to a vengeful U.S. Marine Corps that put him on trial for allegedly collaborating with the enemy.

Branded a “traitor,” Garwood has become over the years the most vilified Marine in U.S. history. At his 1980 court-martial, Marine prosecutors accused him of desertion, encouraging other American soldiers to defect, maltreatment of fellow POWs, wearing the enemy’s uniform and carrying the enemy’s weapons.

Eventually, the Marine Corps dropped the charge of desertion — a charge even the top brass realized might be hard to prove against a Marine who had only 10 days left on his one-year Vietnam tour and was clearly looking forward to going home to Indiana.

But Garwood, a Jeep driver and headquarters gofer who never saw combat until he got lost one day and was captured by the VC at gunpoint, was still charged with “unauthorized absence” from his unit. After a hasty court-martial, Garwood was convicted of helping the enemy, reduced to the lowest rank in the Marine Corps and stripped of all pay and allowances — including the $148,000 in private’s pay that had built up during his 14 years in captivity.

Marine PFC Robert “Bobby” Garwood was not a prisoner of war for fourteen years. He was arguably a POW for eight years, but he voluntarily chose to remain behind when all the rest of our POWs from the Vietnam War were released in 1973. That might have had something to do with the fact that he collaborated with the enemy.

In 1979 he slipped a note to a Finnish diplomat in Vietnam and when the story broke the Vietnamese government quickly turned him over to us. A few years later he tried to claim that he had witnessed several other American POWs remaining in Vietnam after the war, but none were ever found and his story never check out. His claims were made during a period when there were several movies based on the idea of “lost” POWs.

I was in the army when Garwood returned, and I can tell you what the reaction was among me and my fellow soldiers. We considered Garwood a traitorous scumbag and we were disappointed that he wasn’t imprisoned.

The past few days we have seen many Democrats proclaiming that they “support our troops” and that it is always imperative that we “leave no man behind.” I say bullshit.

As a general rule we always want to take all reasonable steps to bring our service men and women home – alive if possible, but even their remains are precious. But bringing them home safely is not our military’s primary goal. We sent them into harm’s way for a reason.

No one would reasonably expect us to surrender to the enemy just to recover one of our captured troops. That is simply too high a price. But reasonable people could disagree on what price is acceptable.

It is very clear that Bowe Bergdahl was a deserter and possibly a traitor. If he is a traitor he deserves to die or spend the rest of his life in prison. Why would we want to ransom a traitor? He should be like Edward Snowden, forced to live in permanent exile in his new home.

But lets assume that he was merely a deserter. He has broken his oath and abandoned his buddies. Perhaps that doesn’t deserve punishment, but does he deserve any kind of support or consideration from us? We might take Bergdahl back the same way we did Bobby Garwood, but we shouldn’t have to pay for him.

FYI: Garwood is 68 years old and currently lives in Greenwood, Indiana.

Robert R. Garwood

About Myiq2xu - BA, JD, FJB

I was born and raised in a different country - America. I don't know what this place is.
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68 Responses to The Curious Case of PFC Robert Garwood, America’s Last Vietnam POW

  1. The Klown says:
  2. votermom says:

    Wow, 2 posts in one morning! That new wriagra must be da bomb!

  3. The Klown says:
  4. The Klown says:
  5. votermom says:

    I am reminded of the WW 2 Japanese stragglers. I guess you could call them the anti-Garwoods & anti-Bergdahls. They refused to believe that Japan had surrendered so they hid in the jungle, some for years, continuing to wage a war already lost.

  6. votermom says:

  7. The Klown says:

    Via Hot Air:

    Commanders on the ground debated whether to pull the trigger on a rescue several times in recent years, according to one of the sources, a former high-level intelligence official in Afghanistan, who said the conclusion each time was that the prospect of losing highly trained troops was too high a price to pay for rescuing a soldier who walked away from his unit before being captured by the enemy.

    • Lulu says:

      A truer deduction has seldom been made. The Pentagon had decided that Bergdahl wasn’t worth the cost of a Special Forces hat much less one of their lives. I suspect his father knew this thus the whining and wheedling on the twitter with Al Qaeda.

  8. Lulu says:

    The Taliban supporting royalty of the Middle East wanted their high value prisoners back. Gitmo chaps their ass. The Emir of Quatar (sp?) was being squired around by his fanboy Bronco. He even took him to the West Point graduation. Bronco needed a cover story to hand the terrorists over as a favor to the Emir. So a swap is born. Hell, the Emir may pay Bronco when he is out of office. They didn’t have a lot of time, they are incompetent, and they needed a diversion from the VA implosion. Shinseki committed seppuku the day before so a change of subject was direly needed. I think they knew and realized how awful Bergdahl is but they were in a hurry, sent Rice out to lie like an idiot, thought the non-disclosure statements were for forever instead of just until he was dead or returned, and they have absolutely no clue about military culture. They also have no concept of honor nor do they give a shit about loss of life especially soldiers who are peons to them. They fucked up badly. In an election year! They also got to sneak in their EPA rules.

    • piper says:

      Someone on another site opines that Bronco was blackmailed by someone into releasing these Gitmo prisoners for their silence on Benghazi. Adjusting my tinfoil hat as anything could be possible given his narcissistic attitude/behavior.

    • threewickets says:

      Qatar finances Al Qaeda in Syria, who our CIA is apparently working with on the Sunni rebel side. Qatar (as well as Saudis) also finance Greens around the world including Hollywood anti-fracking films like Matt Damon’s Promised Land.

      • Mary says:

        Qatar was also one of the Sunni nations financing the weapons movement from Benghazi to Sunni rebels in Syria (transit through Turkey).

        Lotta blackmail potential there.

  9. votermom says:

  10. The Klown says:
    • lyn says:

      Obama is a case study in what happens when the proggies’ twisted fantasies become real.

    • Lulu says:

      What about the dashed fantasies of a ballet dancer named Bergdahl. He tried to join the French Foreign Legion. They said no. He tried to be a Special Forces soldier. They said no too. He got to combat and he was disillusioned because it was fucking hard. So he wrote a note, sneaked out, and went to find the Taliban. Now exactly who had the twisted butt-hurt fantasies?

  11. votermom says:

  12. votermom says:

    LOL if true

  13. Ann says:

    I wish Edward Snowden didn’t have a reason to live in exile; I do not think it is wrong that he outed illegal government activity (I am grateful he did), but rather I wish that there wasn’t illegal activity to out. I wish (naively) that we lived in a society where the government didn’t spy on its citizens. (If wishes were horses…)

    I am definitely not in the “shoot the messenger” camp.

  14. DeniseVB says:

    Hmmm? The mysterious death of Michael Hastings ? Probably why we don’t get many “good” investigative reporters these days. He wrote the Rolling Stone article on Bergdahl in 2012…..

    I still think Breitbart was murdered too. Happy TinFoil Tuesday 😀

  15. DeniseVB says:

    Gonna need a bigger box of foil ….. did Bergdahl’s dad claim the White House in the name of Islam?

  16. 49erDweet says:

    Apparently the easiest way to separate slobbering idiots from the general populace is by show of hands.
    All those considering it appropriate to automatically promote deserters during their absence raise your right hands. Now step over here. Here’s your sign!

  17. DeniseVB says:


  18. The Klown says:

    Chuck Todd: W.H. Expected ‘Euphoria’ Over Bergdahl Release:

  19. The Klown says:
  20. votermom says:

    Remember the media frenzy over Jessica Lynch? Why haven’t we seen even one photo of poor sick just released Bergdahl?

  21. helenk3 says:

    guess the backtrack bunch have a different definition of ” honor and distinction” then most people

  22. helenk3 says:

    watch backtrack during this appearence with deserter’s daddy

  23. helenk3 says:

    what the right, left and talbon say about bergdahl’s release

    • The Klown says:

      Questions persisted, too, about the circumstances of Bergdahl’s 2009 capture. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel declined to comment on earlier reports that the sergeant had walked away from his unit, disillusioned with the war. Such matters “will be dealt with later,” Hagel said.

      Hagel, visiting troops in Afghanistan, was met with silence when he told a group of them in a Bagram Air Field hangar: “This is a happy day. We got one of our own back.” It was unclear whether the absence of cheers and applause came from a reluctance to display emotion in front of the Pentagon chief or from any doubts among the troops about Bergdahl.

      Imma go with option 3: They didn’t like what they heard and were too polite to boo.

  24. Tony Miller says:

    Bowe is an American. He is innocent until proven guilty. So far all we have is hearsay and “I read in ____ magazine that _____.” I believe we should let the US Army do it’s investigation and let it decide if he is a traitor, deserter, victim, or what have you.

    • angienc says:

      Hey dumbass — the accounts of the soldiers in his unit is not “hearsay” — it is direct testimony.
      Stop using words that you don’t understand.

  25. The Klown says:
    • leslie says:

      The team obama threats to run Warren against her in the primaries were strong incentive to change her objections.

  26. gumsnapper says:

    Obot commenters on NYT, Salon, Slate, and other Dem strongholds are spinning like crazy and are in full anti-Repub fury. Going by that, I’d say this is hurting them.

  27. 1539days says:

    All I can figure from this is that Obama and his circle have a fundamental disrespect for the military. This goes back to Janet Napolitano talking about how dangerous returning soldiers were. They really believe that it is a stupid thing for anyone to volunteer to go into combat. To them, Bergdahl just did another dumb thing and is therefore equal to all the other military in Afghanistan.

  28. mothy67 says:

    Really off off topic
    I want to acknowledge all of you. I was given two months tp live last January. Set up for a transplant. Dark days but I had a little one. I had to be strong. I remember looking at rail road ties used as parking spaces praying to god to just walk six more feet. I refused to let her see me collapse. Over a year later and I .am still kicking. Urchin said to me tonight ..hy aren’t you married. I shrugged. She said well I am selfish cause I never want to share you or you fotget about me. Not a chance I told her. Then I made her listen to Into Your Arms by the LemonHeDeads.
    WNt to ssy thank you. This place has been a vent for me for years. I am aware there is little I csn fix but my frustrations have been assuaged reading here.

  29. mothy67 says:

    Fuck the polls people are pissed off. Really pissed off. Mothers are screaming in pubs. A million man militia ain’t gonna go anywhere these women’s rage

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