Retired Senior Chief Petty Officer Mike Toussaint, a burly Navy dog handler, grudgingly wiped away tears as he described the barrage of insurgent gunfire that killed his military service dog, Remco, during the search for Army Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl.
Though he was never called to testify, Toussaint served as a prospective witness in the case against Bergdahl, who last week received a dishonorable discharge from the U.S. Army, but avoided prison time for desertion, misbehavior before the enemy, and endangering troops.
The military judge ordered that Bergdahl’s rank be reduced from sergeant to private and required him to surrender $1,000 a month from his pay for 10 months. The sentencing arrived eight years after Bergdahl abandoned his outpost in Afghanistan in 2009 before the Taliban held him captive for five years.
Toussaint called the sentencing “disgusting” and said Bergdahl should have received life in prison for his “reckless” actions.
Nine days after Bergdahl’s desertion, SEAL team members Toussaint and Remco were sent on a hostage rescue operation in southeastern Afghanistan to search for the missing private. He said the team, led by Senior Chief Petty Officer Jimmy Hatch, knew prior to the July 8 mission that Bergdahl voluntarily left his post, despite earlier reports stating he was captured on patrol. (Read more from “Bergdahl Rescue Mission ‘Haunts’ Navy SEAL Team Member Eight Years Later” HERE)