Navy SEAL Jason Redman, who captured enemy insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan during his tour of duty, expressed his anger about the five prisoners the U.S. swapped for Bowe Bergdahl's release from the Taliban while talking with local law enforcement officers at Gonzaga University Wednesday.
Redman, who was shot eight times in an al-Qaida ambush in 2007, worries some detainees freed from Guantanamo Bay are the same people his unit faced on the battlefield.
Redman was in Spokane Wednesday to talk to approximately 200 local law enforcement officers, Washington State troopers and airmen from Fairchild Air Force Base at Gonzaga University, sharing his incredible story of survival and determination.
While on tour in Iraq, Redman's team faced a life or death situation when they hit an ambush.
“Unfortunately we walked right into an ambush situation,” he said. “They had pre-staged fighting positions, two PKM machine guns. multiple AK-47s.”
With just two weeks left in his tour of duty Redman, a Navy lieutenant serving with the SEALs, nearly died in Iraq. After capturing or killing a number of high value al-Qaida leaders, Redman was gravely wounded and yet had the fortitude to finish the battle and later run to a medevac chopper.
“I went from a point of not having any energy to 'Hey I want to go home, I wanna see my wife and kids. I want to raise them in this free nation that we live in, that I fought for,'” he said.
He said leadership is forged from the fires of experience but can't be put to work without the teamwork the Navy SEALs are famous for. After he was injured in combat, Redman was transported home for treatment of his numerous injuries, and while recovering at Bethesda Medical Center he posted a sign outside his hospital room that became an internet sensation. That sign read, “Don't come into this room to feel sorry for my wounds, wounds I received doing a job I love, doing for people I love, supporting the freedom of a country I deeply love.”
While the focus of his discussion was his personal story, when asked about the prisoner exchange that returned Bergdahl back to U.S. custody Redman didn't mince his words.
“There are a lot of American military members who spent a lot of time and effort searching for him, guys who were killed trying to find him, so I don't know when the United States of America decided it's the right thing to negotiate with terrorists but I think it's totally unacceptable,” he said.
but left his security post when he was supposed to be guarding an American forward position and then went out looking to surrender himself to the enemy.