Bergdahl in stable condition at Army medical center

Fri Jun 13, 2014 8:19pm EDT

1 of 4. The Brooke Army Medical Center, at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, is pictured June 12, 2014. After spending five years as a Taliban prisoner of war Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is heading back to the United States.

Credit: Reuters/Darren Abate

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SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who spent five years as a Taliban prisoner of war before being released on May 31, was in stable condition at a military hospital in Texas and has not yet met with his parents, military officials said on Friday.

Bergdahl, who arrived in the pre-dawn hours of Friday on a military flight from Germany, was in a good enough physical condition to meet with debriefers but has not been informed of the controversy surrounding his capture, the officials said.

"What we are trying to do is get him to recognize that the coping skills he used to survive this long, five-year ordeal may not be healthy and functional now," Colonel Bradley Poppen, an Army psychologist, told a news conference held near the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio where Bergdahl will receive care.

No timeline has been set for his recovery, said officials who declined to give any further details about contacts between Bergdahl and his family to respect their privacy.

While the Army also gave little information about Bergdahl's health and emotional state, officials said they were pleased with his physical state on arrival.

"He appeared just like any sergeant would, when they see a two-star general: A little bit nervous. But he looked good," said Major General Joseph DiSalvo.

Bergdahl had been able to walk into the hospital, and was settling in after a long transatlantic flight from Germany.

The military hospital has teams of specialists and has been helping returning prisoners of war for decades.

Bergdahl has had one request when it comes to food, military officials said - peanut butter.

Bergdahl was handed over to U.S. forces in Afghanistan in exchange for five Taliban leaders held at Guantanamo prison in Cuba. His release initially sparked a wave of support that was quickly overshadowed by a political uproar over the freeing of the senior Taliban members.

Lawmakers criticized the Obama administration for failing to give them 30 days' notice before transferring prisoners from Guantanamo as required by law. Some charged that in doing the exchange, the administration had effectively violated its policy against negotiating with terrorists.

Some of Bergdahl's former comrades in Afghanistan alleged he had deserted when he walked away from his post, in circumstances that are unclear, and was later captured.

Bergdahl's return to U.S. soil was quietly welcomed in his hometown of Hailey in central Idaho, where businesses and supporters of the Bergdahl family have received hate mail and phone calls from detractors labeling the Army sergeant a deserter and traitor.

“We're still standing with Bowe," said Sue Martin, owner of Zaney's River Street Coffee House, where Bergdahl worked before enlisting.

"He has the personal insight and the intelligence to be able to address this long period of healing," she said.

Bergdahl's parents, Bob and Jani Bergdahl, were expected to travel to Texas from Idaho, although it was not immediately clear when, or whether they had spoken with their son.

In a statement on behalf of the family, the Bergdahls said they do not intend to make their travel plans public.

"They ask for continued privacy as they concentrate on their son's reintegration," the statement said.

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Comments (11)
pyradius wrote:
Victor631, if you worship any god you are a fool who can’t grasp reality and must cling to make-believe. In any event, it should not matter which fantasy-man one worships in our country, but in any event unless you get your mental programming from Bill O’Reilly then you would realize that he spoke in the language of the Taliban and grew out his beard in solidarity with his son and has nothing to do with his beliefs.

There is no ‘story’ that Obama has to get straight. Bergdahl certainly won’t be getting ‘bags of money for life’ although he will possibly get back-pay for those 5 years. This may be partly contingent on the results of the investigation into his capture when the facts will be revealed (vs. the garbage that you suckers swallow every day from Faux Noise).

Jun 13, 2014 10:01pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
mrnukem wrote:
He needs to be processed through the legal system fairly as is his right as an American under the 5th, 6th and 14th amendments of the U.S. Constitution and to not be condemned before he has been able to defend himself in court. To me this is not a political issue it is a moral issue that he is innocent until proven guilty. I do not care about the politics as I am not a member of either political party. Let the military prosecution present it’s evidence in court, let him have a fair trial before he is labeled a traitor, deserter ect. anyone condemning him before he has had is day in court should be ashamed at such blatant mob mentality. It is UN–American to condemn a man of a crime before he has had a chance to defend himself in court.

Jun 13, 2014 10:48pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Vilavicki wrote:
After five years with the Taliban I am sure that Bowe Bergdahl has serious mental issues. How down to earth that he wants peanut butter. I hope he can get the mental help he needs and that he will be able to return to his home and town once he feels better.

Jun 14, 2014 1:18am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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