Wednesday, July 30, 2014         

 Print   Email   Comment | View 15 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

Army: Bergdahl not joined by family after return

By Juan A. Lozano

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 12:28 p.m. HST, Jun 14, 2014

SAN ANTONIO >> When Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl arrived back in the United States following five years of captivity by the Taliban in Afghanistan, he wasn't joined by his family, military officials say.

Bergdahl was brought to Texas from an Army medical facility in Germany, where he had been recovering. Maj. Gen. Joseph P. DiSalvo, who greeted Bergdahl early Friday upon his arrival, said he exchanged a few words with Bergdahl after a three-vehicle convoy met him.

"He appeared just like any sergeant would when they see a two-star general, a little bit nervous. But he looked good and saluted and had good deportment," DiSalvo said at a news conference Friday, adding that Bergdahl was in stable condition.

Army officials would not say when Bergdahl's relatives might show up at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston.

In a statement read at the news conference, Bergdahl's parents said they "are overjoyed that their son has returned to the United States" but asked for privacy.

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. After the news conference, officials said they did not know if Bergdahl has spoken with his family.

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.

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

Bergdahl is working daily with health professionals to regain a sense of normalcy and move forward with his life, military officials said. Officials said there is no timeline for the final step in Bergdahl's reintegration process.

"We will proceed at his pace," Poppen said.

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

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 the short time he has been back on U.S. soil, Bergdahl, who can walk on his own, has been on a bland diet and has shown a fondness for peanut butter, officials said.

While at Brooke Army Medical Center, Bergdahl will have a "standard patient room" but will not have access to a television, said Col. Ronald Wool, who is in charge of Bergdahl's medical care.

"We will bring him up slowly to what has been transpiring over the last five years," Wool said.

Bergdahl 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 Wool.

Poppen said that during his captivity, Bergdahl had no control over any aspect of his life, including what and when he could eat. "So one of the concepts is to get him a sense of predictability and control of his environment," he said.


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

 Print   Email   Comment | View 15 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Seems like they are really trying to keep this guy and the facts of his departure from his unit under wraps. What's that smell? I smell a rat.
on June 14,2014 | 01:40PM
copperwire9 wrote:
You would.
on June 14,2014 | 01:59PM
HanabataDays wrote:
Good. That's your job. You're a cat.
on June 14,2014 | 02:41PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
I think they're afraid the public is going to find out this guy purposely walked away from his post and surrendered to the Taliban. Not the guy you trade 5 terrorists for at least. This whole thing was incredibly stupid of Obama, the longer he stays in office, the worse his foreign policy becomes.
on June 14,2014 | 08:57PM
iwanaknow wrote:
sad, sad, sad, the plot thickens
on June 14,2014 | 01:48PM
HanabataDays wrote:
Basically this article is characterized by a report of something that hasn't happened, even though the timetable for when it's "supposed" to happen is an arbitrary one and subject to quite a few variables. It's far from clear this qualifies as anything resembling "news". I don't expect to see headlines over a story informing us the sun didn't blow up today.
on June 14,2014 | 02:40PM
coco8boone wrote:
What service were you in combat?
on June 14,2014 | 04:35PM
GorillaSmith wrote:
Let the cover-up begin! Obama apologists: assume your customary spin positions.
on June 14,2014 | 03:56PM
jmarie wrote:
Wait a coward and traitor being coddled by the Emperor's staff shez.
on June 14,2014 | 04:17PM
coco8boone wrote:
This is a democracy... innocent until proven guilty. Sounds like you're a hater and didn't even serve in combat.
on June 14,2014 | 04:38PM
RandolphW wrote:
Let the big cover up continue forward.
on June 14,2014 | 06:54PM
krusha wrote:
Reminds me of that character named Reek from the TV show Game Of Thrones. http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/Theon_Greyjoy
on June 14,2014 | 06:55PM
Bothrops wrote:
Let's defer judgement. And just maybe he does need some more time, after five years wondering if each hour was his last, to adjust to the US and its bitterness. Many vets did things they regretted in combat, but Americans always tried to say "Welcome home", even if we didn't do a good job. Now we have some sort of litmus test for our POWS? Welcome home, Sergeant Bergdahl.
on June 14,2014 | 08:34PM
PinkSushi wrote:
But those other vets were not traded for 5 terrorists. That's the difference.
on June 15,2014 | 07:05AM
LKK56 wrote:
Bergdalh should be investigated by the military, not by the media and FOX news. Never in US history has a POW and his family been treated this way. Bergdalh might have caused the deaths of 5 other service men because of his action. What Bergdalh did is pale in comparison to Bush getting us involved in the Iraq War that resulted in the deaths of 4,177 Americans. This does not include the wounded Americans, Iraq civilian deaths and wounded.
on June 15,2014 | 09:03AM
Breaking News