Mark Allen, soldier injured in 2009 search for Bowe Bergdahl, dies

Allen sustained severe head injury

By Jamiel Lynch and Ralph Ellis, CNN
Copyright 2019 CNN

Mark Allen was one of several soldiers wounded in the search for Bowe Bergdahl.

LOGANVILLE, Ga. - A soldier shot in the head a decade ago while searching for Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan died on Saturday.

Master Sgt. Mark Allen, 46, of Loganville, Georgia, was severely wounded in 2009 when he and other soldiers looked for Bergdahl, a fellow soldier who deserted his post and was captured by the Taliban.

In a Facebook post, Shannon Allen wrote, "I'm heartbroken to let you all know that my husband passed away peacefully yesterday morning with his family by his side. Over ten years ago, he sustained a severe head injury while serving in Afghanistan, which caused him lifelong health problems. These past few months, he has faced some significant illnesses, and his body was finally ready to rest."

In 2017, Shannon Allen testified at Bergdahl's sentencing hearing at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, about her husband's injuries and the hardships it caused for her family. She said he'd had about 20 surgeries, needed scores of medicines, vitamins and supplies and required nursing care 24 hours a day.

"He is present, makes eye contact," she told the court. "He can laugh, smile, cry. That is the extent of the communication."

Allen's funeral is scheduled for Friday.

Bergdahl was a sergeant when he left his post in Afghanistan, and Allen and other soldiers from Bergdahl's unit searched 19 days for him in grueling conditions. Some of them were seriously wounded.

Bergdahl said his Taliban captors beat and tortured him. He was released in a controversial prisoner swap in May 2014 for five Guantanamo Bay detainees.

He faced up to life in prison for his desertion. He received a dishonorable discharge from the US Army and his rank was reduced to private, but he avoided prison time for desertion and misbehavior before the enemy after abandoning his outpost in Afghanistan.

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