CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- As the family and friends of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl celebrate his release by the Taliban in Afghanistan over the weekend, there s a renewed frustration by some former colleagues who say he was a deserter who caused the deaths of six fellow soldiers.
One of those deaths includes a North Carolina soldier.
Bowe Bergdahl deserted during a time of war, and his fellow American lost their lives searching for him, former Sergeant Matt Vierkant told CNN.
The exact circumstances of Bergdahl s disappearance and eventual capture in 2009 are contested. Former platoon members say he was on duty at an observation post when he simply walked away.
On Monday, the White House sidestepped questions about whether he was deserter.
The Defense Department has been and will continue to be the lead in terms of evaluating all of the circumstances surrounding his initial detention and his captivity, said Jay Carney, White House spokesperson.
At least six of Bergdahl s fellow soldiers died in the subsequent searches to find him.
In August 2009, 23-year-old Private First Class Morris Walker, of Fayetteville, died after an improvised explosive device blew-up beside him. The UNC Chapel Hill graduate joined the Army just a few months prior. An obituary recalls his great sense of humor .
Phone calls to his Walker s family were not returned Monday.
Former colleagues of Bergdahl s have created a Facebook page entitled page
The page includes a link to a White House petition that demands punishment for Bergdahl for deserting fellow soldiers.