Mark Allen, soldier shot in head in 2009 search for Bowe Bergdahl, dies

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LOGANVILLE, Ga. (AP) — A retired soldier who was shot in the head while searching for Army Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl has died.

Master Sgt. Mark Allen, of Loganville, Georgia, passed away on Saturday at 46 years old. His obituary says he died from complications of an injury sustained while serving in Afghanistan.

Allen was shot during an insurgent ambush in 2009. He was left unable to speak and paralyzed over much of his body. His official cause of death hasn’t been released.

Bergdahl had deserted his post and was captured by the Taliban.

Soldiers from his unit — including Allen — spent 19 days searching for him.

In 2017, Allen’s wife testified at Bergdahl’s sentencing hearing that his injury caused endless health issues and required him to be under 24-hour care.

Allen spent 21 years in the Army and the Army National Guard. He retired upon receiving a Purple Heart in 2013.

Bergdahl was held by the Taliban for five years.

He was released by the Taliban in a controversial prisoner swap in May 2014 for five Guantanamo Bay detainees.

He faced up to life in prison for his desertion but ended up receiving a dishonorable discharge from the U.S. Army and avoided prison time for abandoning his post and endangering military comrades who participated in the lengthy search for him.

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