Army Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl disappeared from his Army unit in 2009 and spent five years held captive in Afghanistan

By Georgia Slater
October 15, 2019 10:57 AM
Credit: U.S Army

A soldier who was shot in the head 10 years ago during his search for Army Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl died Saturday. He was 46.

Master Sgt. Mark Allen, of Loganville, Georgia, died following complications from a 2009 injury in Afghanistan, according to the veteran’s funeral home obituary, however the formal cause of death was not released.

While helping to look for Bergdahl — a fellow solider who disappeared from his Army unit in 2009 and was held captive by the Taliban for five years — many soldiers, including Allen, were wounded in the 19-day search, The Associated Press reported. The shot to Allen’s head left most of his body paralyzed and he was no longer able to speak.

Bergdahl vanished when he reportedly walked away from his post at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan. He was released in 2014, and ultimately didn’t face prison time for deserting his post.

Allen’s wife, Shannon Allen, testified at Bergdahl’s 2017 sentencing hearing about her husband’s difficult health conditions, sharing that he’d had nearly 20 surgeries and required constant care from nurses, according to CNN.

“He is present, makes eye contact,” she said at the time. “He can laugh, smile, cry. That is the extent of the communication.”

“I mean, we can’t hold hands anymore, unless I pry open his hand and place mine in it,” she added, per NBC.

Credit: U.S Army

Shannon shared the news of her husband’s tragic death in a Facebook post, CNN obtained Monday.

“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,” she wrote.

According to NBC, Allen received a Purple Heart in 2013 after 21 years in the service.

The funeral for Allen will be held Friday. He is survived by his Shannon, his son, Cody, daughter, Journey, grandson Kruze, parents David and Valerie, and his two brothers, Joey and Phillip.