FAYETTEVILLE (WTVD) -- Those closest to a soldier who lost his life in a mission to save a recently rescued Army sergeant say they are not placing blame on the man held captive for several years.
Private First Class Morris Walker, a Fayetteville native, is among six soldiers said to have died during a 2009 mission to save Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. Bergdahl was recently released to the United States in a controversial swap of Taliban members who were in custody at Guantanamo Bay.
Former members of Bergdahl's unit say Walker was among six soldiers who unnecessarily lost their lives in an attempt to save Bergdahl. Walker was killed by a roadside bomb on August 18, 2009.
More than 200 signatures from the Fayetteville area are listed on a White House Petition to punish Bergdahl for deserting his unit, but Walker's family and friends don't dishonor his service.
"Without any more information, I don't think it's right for us, his family or for the other soldiers' families to remark on it," said Michael Chasin, one of Walker's best friends. "He's still an American who was brought back after being in harm's way for a while, so we're still happy about that."
Chasin, speaking to ABC11 via Skype from his L.A.-based LawKick office, was Walker's roommate and fraternity brother at the University of North Carolina. Walker, who graduated from Fayetteville Academy in 2004, went on to study at UNC before enlisting in the Army.
Chasin said Walker's mother told friends Tuesday morning that she was fine with them talking about her son, but they would not comment further on the Bergdahl controversy.
"Regardless what the reason was, he's still an American hero," Chasin said of his friend. "He still fought for us and we all still respect him regardless of the circumstances surrounding it. He was rising in the ranks really quickly. He was asked to go on a mission. He went on it."
"It's just more important than anything, the reason I did this [interview] was to honor his memory and make sure people know that he was a really incredible person."
Chasin said Walker was even more popular than the basketball stars at the Division One school.
"He knew everyone and everyone knew him and everyone wanted to party with him," he laughed. "Everyone wanted to hang with him."
"Mo," as he was commonly known, was in the service all of six months before his death, and had talked to Chasin about enlisting.
"I asked him what he was looking for and I think what he was looking for the most was structure, discipline," said Chasin." And [he] just wanted to make a difference and he was very pro-American and wanted to kind of have an impact on something rather than just being in college."
The last request Walker made of his friend was to send him a copy of Max Tucker's "I Hope They Sell Beer in Hell." It didn't make to Afghanistan before Walker died.
"One of the biggest regrets I have in life is letting that care package sit on my desk for a week before I sent it," said Chasin.
Walker, who was raised by his grandmother in Fayetteville, was also laid to rest in the city.
Report a Typo
Friend of Fayetteville soldier killed in Bergdahl mission speaks