SAN ANTONIO — U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the former prisoner of war whose recent release from Taliban captivity prompted both celebration and controversy, has arrived in Texas.
A flight transporting Bergdahl from a U.S. military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, landed in San Antonio at about 1:40 a.m. Friday.
Bergdahl is expected to begin the next phase of his rehabilitation and reintegration process at Brooke Army Medical Center.
The U.S. Army South command is charged with helping Bergdahl re-acclimate to society. Among the medical center’s personnel are specialists trained to conduct medical and psychological exams and interviews about his time in solitary confinement.
Bergdahl was held by the Taliban for nearly five years. He went missing from his post in Afghanistan in 2009. He was released May 31 in exchange for five Taliban prisoners who were being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
President Obama and military leaders have said that Bergdahl’s health was declining and that getting him home safely was a priority.
However, the administration has faced harsh criticism that Bergdahl’s release came at a high price. Many also have questioned the circumstances that caused Bergdahl’s initial capture.
In a statement sent early Friday, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said: “There is no timeline for this (rehabilitation) process. Our focus remains on his health and well-being.”
He also said that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was emphasizing the need to support Bergdahl’s recovery, first and foremost.
“Secretary 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,” Kirby said.