Mixed feelings for local vet who supported Sgt. Bergdahl’s return

HUTCHINSON, Kansas – As Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl continues to recover from almost five years of Taliban captivity, a local man who supported his return says he’s conflicted about how he’s returning to the United States.

Back in March, Dave Schoonover, an Army veteran from Hutchinson, led an effort to have several digital billboards in the Wichita area display an ad calling on people to support the movement to bring home Sgt. Bergdahl. Art Studio Signs, a Hutchinson company which operates the digital billboards, donated the space for the cause.

The last of those ads was taken down Tuesday afternoon at the Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane.

“Some people are probably happy that he got rescued, others are unhappy about how it all came about to bring him home,” Schoonover said.

Schoonover says he supports bringing home all prisoners of war, but the fact that the Obama administration exchanged five Taliban commanders for Sgt. Bergdahl, along with reports that he deserted just days before his capture, makes it hard to swallow.

“I don’t like the fact that he may have charges against him for what he did, but at least they got him home, he can answer the questions and face whatever consequences he has here on American soil,” he said. “Now he’s back in our hands and coming back to America and hopefully this will get resolved. Hopefully it will close a lot of wounds for a lot of people.”

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