arrives in Texas: Pentagon
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[June 13, 2014]
By David Alexander
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Army Sergeant Bowe
Bergdahl, who spent five years as a Taliban prisoner of war before being
released on May 31, has arrived at an Army medical center in Texas where
he will receive further treatment, the Pentagon said on Friday.
Rear Admiral John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, said Bergdahl left
Ramstein Air Base in Germany aboard a military plane on Thursday
afternoon and arrived early on Friday in San Antonio, where he will
be cared for at the Brooke Army Medical Center.
"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," Kirby said.
Bergdahl was handed over to U.S. forces in Afghanistan on May 31 in
exchange for five Taliban leaders held at Guantanamo prison in Cuba.
Bergdahl's initial release sparked a wave of support that was
quickly overshadowed by 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 also voiced anger,
alleging that he had deserted when he walked away from his outpost
in circumstances that are unclear and was later captured.
Kirby said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had expressed confidence
the Army will continue to ensure Bergdahl "receives the care, time
and space he needs to complete his recovery and reintegration".
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The hospital facility, formally known as the San Antonio Military
Medical Center and located at Fort Sam Houston, has teams of
specialists and has been helping returning prisoners of war for
Bergdahl's parents, Bob and Jani Bergdahl, were expected to travel
to Texas from their Idaho home, although it was not immediately
clear when, or whether they had spoken with Bowe.
(Reporting by David Alexander in Washington; Writing by Eric M.
Johnson; Editing by Catherine Evans)
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