Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has arrived safely home in the United States, landing in Texas after five years in captivity in Afghanistan.
Bowe Bergdahl‘s return to the US has been complicated by a number of factors, and initially, the soldier was taken to Germany to recuperate following his lengthy ordeal.
Following news Bergdahl had been recovered alive was a wave of gratitude, followed by partisan outrage over the decision to trade five prisoners from Guantanamo Bay for the imprisoned American.
According to The New York Times, Bergdahl’s transfer has been slow-going, in order to allow the former prisoner time to re-adjust to freedom:
“Sergeant Bergdahl, 28, America’s lone prisoner of war in the 13-year conflict in Afghanistan, landed before dawn aboard a military transport plane at an airfield adjacent to Lackland Air Force Base and was escorted to a nearby hospital at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston… He arrived in Texas amid high winds and lightning to begin the next stage of his recovery at the base, where he will undergo therapy and counseling as part of what Army officials call a ‘reintegration process.'”
Since Bergdahl’s rescue on May 31, he has been kept away from both his family and the news media, with no images or video of the soldier made available by the military.
The paper reports that Bergdahl has spoken to one friend, a woman only identified as “Kim,” to whom he sent emails just prior to his capture:
“He did, however, speak by telephone this week to a close friend, according to the American official briefed on his condition.. In the emails, which were first reported by The Washington Post, Sergeant Bergdahl alludes to ‘plans’ he was working on — a possible foreshadowing of events to come.”
The military confirmed Bergdahl’s arrival at Lackland Air Force Base in a statement, and Pentagon spokesperson Rear Adm. John Kirby commented:
“Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has arrived at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. While there, he will continue the next phase of his reintegration process. There is no timeline for this process. Our focus remains on his health and well-being. 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.”
Since his rescue, Bowe Bergdahl is said to be suffering emotional distress due to his treatment in captivity. Military officials are also determining whether he is owed $300,000 in back pay.