ARLINGTON, Tx — There aren’t many people who can relate to what Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl has endured, but Commander Mel Stevens can identify with his situation. Stevens was a prisoner of war for eight months in Germany during World War II.
“I weighed 187 pounds when I was captured,” he said. “I weighed 106 when I was liberated.”
Stevens said even as a POW, he contributed to the war effort. In fact, he believes he had a greater impact as a prisoner, than as a soldier.
“They had us working in the rail yard,” Stevens recalled. “One of us would distract a guard with a question or something. Another one could pick up some sand and throw it in the box car.”
Time has past but the memories of traumatic time remain.
“I had some trouble sleeping at night, still do,” he said tearfully. “Your ready to get down on your knees and say thank God. It was really a different experience for sure.”
A shared experience for two soldiers, of two generations. Stevens shared some advice for Bergdahl as the soldier must now adjusts to life as a free man.
“Make a memory of it, and make it as accurately as possible,” he said. “I think that too many soldiers today have not made a record of what their experiences were.”