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Army: Bowe Bergdahl 'looked good' after returning to the US



By JUAN A. LOZANO

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl "looked good" after arriving back in the United States and is working daily with health professionals after being held by the Taliban for five years in Afghanistan, military officials said Friday.

Bergdahl's family has not joined him since he arrived at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston after midnight Friday, and Army officials would not say when relatives might show up.

Maj. Gen. Joseph P. DiSalvo said during a news conference Friday that Bergdahl was in stable condition, "looked good" and showed "good comportment" after being transported to Texas from an Army medical facility in Germany.

"The reintegration of Sgt. Bergdahl is comprehensive. There is no set timeline," said DiSalvo, who will be in charge of that process.

As far as Bergdahl's interaction with relatives, Col. Bradley Poppen, an Army psychologist, said a soldier typically determines when to reunite with his or her family. Poppen declined to release further details, citing the family's request for privacy.

Military officials declined to give details on what Bergdahl might remember about his capture or what he knows about the public uproar surrounding his capture and release.

A three-vehicle convoy greeted Bergdahl at Fort Sam shortly after midnight Friday. Officials said he able to walk on his own and appeared "a little nervous," as they said any sergeant would when greeted by a two-star general. In the short time he has been back on U.S. soil, Bergdahl has been on a bland diet and has shown a fondness for peanut butter, they said.

Bergdahl also arrived speaking English, though officials indicated his speech had been impacted from being in captivity for so long.

"Overall our assessment is that he did not have the opportunity the past five years to practice and speak his English," said Col. Ronald Wood, who is in charge of Bergdahl's medical care.

Army officials briefed the media at a golf course near Fort Sam Houston and said no reporters would be allowed onto the base or in the hospital.

Officials have kept a lid on details of Bergdahl's condition out of concern that he not be rushed back into the public spotlight.

The Idaho native was captured in Afghanistan in June 2009 and released by the Taliban on May 31 in a deal struck by the Obama administration in which five senior Taliban officials were released from detention at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The Army has not formally begun a new review into the circumstances of Bergdahl's capture and whether he walked away without leave or was deserting the Army when he was found and taken by insurgents.

In a statement Friday, the Army said that after Bergdahl's reintegration it would "continue its comprehensive review into the circumstances of his disappearance and captivity."

The answers to those questions will be key to whether Bergdahl will receive more than $300,000 in back pay owed to him since he disappeared. If he was determined to have been a prisoner of war, he also could receive roughly another $300,000 or more, if recommended and approved by Army leaders.

Before his departure from Germany on Thursday, officials in Washington said Bergdahl would not receive the automatic Army promotion that would have taken effect this month if he were still in captivity. Now that he is back in U.S. military control, any promotions would depend on his performance and achievement of certain training and education milestones.

Bergdahl had been at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany since June 1, the day after the prisoner exchange.

Many have criticized the Obama administration for agreeing to release five Taliban prisoners in exchange for Bergdahl. Some of Bergdahl's former Army colleagues have accused him of deserting his post.

Critics also have said the five Taliban members could return to the battlefield. Administration officials have told Congress that four of the five Taliban officials likely will rejoin the fight.

---

Associated Press writers Robert Burns and Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report from Washington, D.C.

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tiflawn June 13 2014 at 5:51 PM

Send him back please. His own people said he walked away from his duties. He hates America. we traded 5 criminals of war for 1 criminal of war.

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23 replies
Fred June 13 2014 at 5:50 PM

He's a taliban plant.

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9 replies
partsautomall June 13 2014 at 5:50 PM

check him for implants.once a traitor,always a traitor

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11 replies
eaglephoenix2 June 13 2014 at 5:59 PM

Reintigration. He's probably been under an intense training course on exactly what to say and not to say. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he said, "look dude, that was 5 years ago, how would I remember?" or "What difference at this point does it make?" or "I plead the 5th"

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13 replies
R June 13 2014 at 5:48 PM

Why shouldn't he look good - he's had 5 years off. Members in his platoon and others had witnessed Bergdahl interacting with the enemy. Playing ball. Fooling around with them. Laughing with them. Eating with hem. Watch, now they'll tell us he was mentally-incompetent or mentally disturbed when he deserted his platoon and his country. Don't believe any of the propaganda.

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49 replies
John June 13 2014 at 5:48 PM

Isn't this great? the deserter gets to come home before those who served with him and stayed on their posts. If you traded for him that's fine but to allow him to come back to USA BEFORE the others...nope

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23 replies
bigred8690 June 13 2014 at 5:48 PM

This POS makes Jane Fonda look good. At least Jane was a young civilian. Bergdahl wore the uniform and took the oath. In all fairness to him for what's he's gone through and accounting for his mental problems (mitigating factor), the fair thing is a dishonorable discharge and forfeiture of all back pay plus demotion to Private.

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29 replies
dan_crabtree June 13 2014 at 5:47 PM

end of story...never another word will appear about this traitor from the military untill obama leaves office,hopefully the first of the year as his impeachment is at now at hand...

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14 replies
Camp Bulldog June 13 2014 at 5:50 PM

This President is protecting his Bird Dog

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3 replies
obama.is.killing.america June 13 2014 at 6:14 PM

Obama claimed this deserter was 'near death' so he 'had to act without the 30 day notification' of congress as required...
Traitor Obama traded 5 high-level Muslim Taliban leaders for 1 anti-American deserter.
Barack Hussein Obama - worst & most corrupt president in America's 237-year history.

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39 replies
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