June 14, 2014 in Nation/World

Bergdahl in good physical condition at Texas medical center, Army says

Molly Hennessy-Fiske Los Angeles Times
 

SAN ANTONIO – Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is in stable condition and will work daily with medical and mental health professionals in a reintegration process to help him gain physical and emotional stability, Army medical officials said Friday.

He arrived at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio early Friday in uniform, saluted a two-star general, walked into the hospital and settled into his quarters.

“We are pleased with his physical state,” an Army official said.

He has not yet met with his family from Hailey, Idaho.

Bergdahl, 28, was released May 31 in exchange for five Taliban prisoners from the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after being held for five years by Islamic insurgents.

His release has touched off intense debate in Washington about whether the White House gave up too much for Bergdahl and whether President Barack Obama should have consulted Congress before agreeing to release the Taliban detainees.

The Idaho native initially was sent to a U.S. military hospital in Germany for medical treatment and counseling, the first phase in what Army doctors at a Friday briefing called “reintegration.”

Earlier this week, a senior U.S. official said Bergdahl is physically healthy, but confinement in a small space and other harsh treatment as a captive has left him psychologically unstable.

His family released a carefully written statement early Friday.

“While the Bergdahls are overjoyed that their son has returned to the United States, Mr. and Mrs. Bergdahl don’t intend to make any travel plans public. They ask for continued privacy as they concentrate on their son’s reintegration,” according to the statement.

An initial Army investigation concluded that Bergdahl left his remote base in eastern Afghanistan without permission in June 2009, although his motive remains unclear. Some who served with Bergdahl said he deserted his post, imperiling fellow soldiers who searched for him. He is facing an investigation into those allegations.


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