News Column

Bowe Bergdahl Begins Outpatient Treatment in Texas

June 23, 2014

VOA News

Last updated on: June 23, 2014 6:20 AM -- U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who spent five years as a Taliban prisoner of war before being released last month, has been discharged from a military hospital in Texas and will continue treatment as an outpatient, the Army said Sunday.

Bergdahl was transferred from Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, to the nearby Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, said Army spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Carol McClelland.

"It's a sign of progression, showing he's no longer a patient of a hospital," McClelland said.

Bergdahl, 28, had been receiving inpatient treatment at Brooke Army Medical Center. He is now receiving outpatient care on the base in San Antonio, according to the statement.

The Army said specifics of Bergdahl's location would not be made public.

The Army said his "reintegration process" is proceeding with exposure to more people and a gradual increase in social interaction.

Bergdahl is receiving counseling from "Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape" psychologists to "continue to ensure he progresses to the point where he can return to duty," the Army statement said.

Captured in 2009 Bowe Bergdahl

- U.S. Army sergeant, was ranked private at time of his capture

- Disappeared from army base in Paktika province, Afghanistan in June 2009

- Taliban initially demanded $1 million and release of 21 Afghan prisoners for his release

- Freed by Taliban on May 31, 2014 in exchange for five prisoners held by U.S. at Guantanamo Bay

- Born March 28, 1986 in Sun Valley, Idaho

The Idaho native was captured in June 2009 and freed 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.

He arrived at the Texas medical center on June 13 after nearly two weeks recuperating at a U.S. military hospital in Germany. Army officials said then that Bergdahl was in stable condition and was working daily with health care providers to regain a sense of normalcy and move forward with his life.

Bergdahl's next phase of recovery, during which he'll continue to get medical care and undergo psychological treatment tailored for soldiers who have spent time in captivity, could last anywhere from a few days to a month, McClelland said.

His release sparked an initial wave of support that was quickly overshadowed by a political uproar over the freeing of the senior members of the Taliban.

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 making the exchange, the administration had effectively violated its policy against negotiating with terrorists.

In addition, some of Bergdahl's former Army comrades have come forward to say they believe he deliberately abandoned his post in Afghanistan.

The Army said last week it is investigating Bergdahl's disappearance and capture. It says investigators will not interview Bergdahl until those helping him recover say it is all right to do so.

Bergdahl has yet to speak to the news media about his ordeal.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AP and AFP.

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Original headline: Bergdahl Begins Outpatient Care in Texas


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