Did Hernando soldier die trying to find American POW Bergdahl? - FOX 13 News

Did Hernando soldier die trying to find American POW Bergdahl?

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HOMOSASSA (FOX 13) -

America's deal with the Taliban has triggered a national debate. We released five Taliban commanders for one American soldier, and that soldier is now facing accusations he deserted his post.

And a soldier from Tampa Bay may have died trying to find him.

Six soldiers from across the nation reportedly died searching for Bowe Bergdahl.

Now we know 'another' Army specialist from Hernando County may also have also died.

Justin Dean Coleman died in Afghanistan right after Bergdahl disappeared.

Coleman’s father Dean Alan Coleman says his son told him they were going on a mission -- but couldn’t say much else.

“Couldn't tell me exactly what it was. Said he wouldn't be able to contact me after a while, [and] that he believed in it and thought it was the right thing to do," Coleman recalled.

Published reports from 2009 suggested Coleman was killed on a mission to find Bergdahl.

His father says we may never know for sure.

"My casualty assistance officer -- he didn't say he was or wasn't. He just said there was a good possibility that's what they were doing," Coleman said.

Either way, the deal to free Bergdahl triggers strong emotions at the VFW post that honors Coleman. Some veterans are angry we freed a soldier who may have deserted his post.

"Ship him right to Guantanamo like the rest of them," said Byron Hammond.

They fear this deal with the Taliban may put other lives in danger.

But Dean Coleman says he needs to know more before he casts judgment.

"If it was my son, I would have done anything," he said.

Coleman says he lost everything when his son died.

"I don't have any grandchildren, he's my only son, the last of my bloodline," he says.

So he understands what the Bergdahl family felt when they learned their son is coming home.

“They have their son back. I’m happy for them that they have their son back. Other comments, I have to wait on,” he said.

He says we'll know much more about Bowe Bergdahl after we bring him home.

"That's our main thing. No solider left behind. By bringing him back then or now, he is still an American either way you look at it,” Coleman said. "I’m very proud of my son, either way."

We've asked the Army for more information about Coleman's mission and how it may relate to Bergdahl, and we're still waiting for a response.

The Army says it will investigate Bergdahl and the circumstances of his capture, and it will make decisions based on that review.

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