A retired Army National Guard officer from metro Atlanta died Saturday, 10 years after he was shot in the head while searching for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan.
Master Sgt. Mark Allen was injured in a June 2009 search mission for Bergdahl, who walked off a U.S. military outpost and was captured by the Taliban. Military prosecutors said Allen was shot during a firefight that erupted when U.S. forces and about 50 members of the Afghan National Army were attacked by enemy fighters.
Allen suffered a traumatic brain injury that left him in a wheelchair and unable to communicate. His wife, Shannon Allen, told WSB Radio that she did not learn about the circumstances surrounding her husband's injuries until 2014, after former President Barack Obama negotiated Bergdahl's release in a swap for five Taliban members detained at Guantanamo Bay.
Shannon Allen typically declined interviews, but she was in the court room in October 2017 when Bergdahl pleaded guilty to charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, The Associated Press reported. He was later sentenced to a dishonorable discharge from the Army but avoided prison time.
When Allen returned home, after being treated for three years at a military hospital in Florida, he was honored as a hero. The father of two was a frequent recipient of local accolades in his Walton County hometown.
According to an obituary printed in the Walton Tribune, Allen spent 21 years in the Army and the Army National Guard. He retired in 2013 upon receiving a Purple Heart. He is survived by his wife, his son, Cody, and a daughter, Journey.
Services are planned for this week. Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Tim Stewart Funeral Home in Loganville. A funeral is set for 11 a.m. Friday at the First Baptist Church of Snellville with a burial to follow.
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