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Bergdahl back in the US to continue recuperation

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Bowe Bergdahl, the Army sergeant who has been recovering in Germany after five years as a Taliban captive, returned to the United States early Friday to continue his medical treatment.

A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, said Bergdahl flew to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio from Ramstein Air Base.

While at the Texas Army base, Bergdahl "will continue the next phase of his reintegration process," Kirby said, adding there was no timeline for the process.

Bergdahl Back On U.S. Soil, Begins Reintegration

"Our focus remains on his health and well-being," he said. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel "is confident that the Army will continue to ensure that Sgt. Bergdahl receives the care, time and space he needs to complete his recovery and reintegration," the spokesman said in a statement.

The Idaho native was expected to be reunited with his family in San Antonio. He 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.

Before his departure from Germany on Thursday, officials in Washington said Bergdahl will 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 future promotions would depend on his performance and achievement of certain training and education milestones.

Officials previously had said the intention was for Bergdahl to be reunited with his family at Brooke and to spend an undetermined period there in further recuperation.

Officials have kept a lid on details of Bergdahl's condition out of concern that he not be rushed back into the public spotlight after a lengthy period in captivity and amid a public uproar over the circumstances of his capture and release.

Officials also said Thursday that the Army has not yet 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.

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.

Bergdahl was released from Taliban captivity on May 31 and has been at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany since June 1.

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.

In congressional testimony Wednesday, Hagel called the former Taliban government officials "enemy belligerents" but said they hadn't been implicated in any attacks against the United States. He said Qatar, which has agreed to keep the five inside the country for a year, promised sufficient security measures to warrant making the swap for Bergdahl.

Hagel also said Bergdahl was early in the process of recovering from the trauma of captivity. He said that process began with his arrival at Landstuhl.

"He's being held there because our medical professionals don't believe he's ready. ... This isn't just about a physical situation," Hagel said. "This guy was held for almost five years in God knows what kind of conditions. ... This is not just about can he get on his feet and walk and get to a plane."

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dd10329 June 13 2014 at 4:52 AM

desertion is punishable by death. He should be tried and shot.

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27 replies
ram4131 June 13 2014 at 5:14 AM

Likes to take unauthorized walks does he? Walk him right into Leavenworth. And give his "back pay" to the families of those killed looking for his sorry ass.

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13 replies
nbarker52 June 13 2014 at 5:09 AM

I know that he helped the Obama position but how about his administration doing something for the poor ex marine in a mexican jail? Or would that get in the way of all the ILLEGAL imigrant kids coming in from Mexico. When does Mexico have to step up to help?

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21 replies
generalsnafu June 13 2014 at 5:24 AM

Why is the story changing now? At the time of his disappearance, it was concluded that this man left his post and deserted his comrades in arms. Today 5 years later, we need a a whole new investigation?

The reason is, everyone is so pissed that Obama traded this deserter for five high level Taliban prisoners. Obama will do whatever is necessary to have this man found to not be a deserter, just to make his decision to make this horrific trade not seem so horrific.

I predict, we will give this deserter $600,000 and some award for service and make a hero out of him. As a service connected, disabled Vet, I say, we should have left him where he was. After all, he was there as a result of abandoning his post and his comrades.

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55 replies
midwayairdale June 13 2014 at 6:12 AM

this man, and his family should get one way tickets to the arab/ muslim country of their choosing. and pay for them themselves. the son is a deserter and the family is a disgrace. as is the "president"!

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10 replies
Ryan June 13 2014 at 4:56 AM

This deserter should be tried in court for the murder of the six (6) soldier that died because of him leaving his post!!!

But.... I get it. Obama Administration needs to praise Bergdahl and make him seem like a hero, so we (American citizens) can forget what a terrible and idiotic trade we made with the Taliban.

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24 replies
greatbirdusa June 13 2014 at 7:12 AM

Our trader president - Barack Hussein Obama -
Freed 5 high-level murdering Taliban leaders for 1 anti-American deserter.
Yet another despicable act by this despicable president.
Barack Hussein Obama
Is the worst and most corrupt President in America's 237-year history.

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43 replies
summerchaser June 13 2014 at 4:55 AM

If he walked away from his post....... all he should get is a kick to the curb...... dishonorably discharged as a private with no back pay or benefits. The only GIFT would be being alive.... and time served in captivity...... as time to be served for desertion......

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11 replies
chris3528matthews June 13 2014 at 4:53 AM

so you now can be a desserter and get praise, he needs to give a damn good explanation a sto whyhe desserted

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mrl349 June 13 2014 at 9:42 AM

Barack Obama is the Worst President ever and Bowe Bergdahl is a Deserter who needs to be thrown in a Federal Prison for Life

Flag Reply +9 rate up
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