FORT BRAGG, N.C. — A former Navy SEAL who helped lead a seek for Military Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl after the soldier abandoned his Afghanistan publish stated Wednesday he knew that People can be killed or harm in looking for him.

“Everybody on that mission was conscious that he walked off” his publish, James Hatch stated at a sentencing listening to for Bergdahl, who was captured and held by the Taliban for 5 years. Requested why he and his staff went in search of him, Hatch replied: “He’s an American.”

“It is actually one thing I by no means questioned,” he stated.

Hatch, a former senior chief petty officer, was shot within the leg in the course of the mission that was launched a few week after Bergdahl deserted his outpost in Afghanistan in 2009.

As quickly as Hatch was informed by an intelligence officer concerning the mission, he stated he knew People can be killed or harm in making an attempt to rescue him.

Bergdahl, 31, pleaded responsible final week to expenses of desertion and misbehavior earlier than the enemy. He faces a possible life sentence on the misbehavior cost.

Prosecutors are trying to point out that Bergdahl’s determination to stroll away put troopers in danger. His disappearance triggered an enormous manhunt and diverted assets from different elements of the conflict.

“Everybody in Afghanistan was in search of Bergdahl,” stated Capt. John Billings, who was Bergdahl’s platoon chief when he walked off the submit.

Billings stated his platoon spent weeks looking for Bergdahl in austere circumstances with little meals or water and his troopers would go with out showers for as much as two weeks at a time.

Hatch provided a harrowing account of an tried rescue mission. He led a staff of particular operations forces based mostly in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. Their mission was to seize or kill “excessive worth targets” or rescue hostages.

When advised they have been to rescue a lacking American, that turned the group’s prime precedence.

The workforce got here underneath fast hearth as they have been descending towards a spot the place they have been advised Bergdahl is perhaps held. It was not clear whether or not he was there, however the space was crammed with militants and civilians.

Helicopters carrying the SEALs got here beneath hearth as they started descending towards the spot. Hatch stated he noticed tracer hearth streaming towards the helicopters.

Civilians, together with youngsters, have been additionally operating across the space. Hatch described carrying two younger youngsters to security.

He turned emotional when he talked a few service canine, Remko, who was shot within the head and killed by a militant.

Hatch was shot within the leg above the knee. “I used to be laying there making an attempt to not scream, however screaming,” Hatch stated.

Hatch, who had a…