Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who was released after being held by the Taliban in exchange for five of the group's leaders being held in Guantanamo Bay, has finally returned to the U.S.
The prisoner of war's release has prompted much criticism from lawmakers who fear the exchange will put U.S. troops, and citizens, in danger, and from those who see Bergdahl, who was captured after leaving his base, as a deserter who put the lives of his fellows at risk (six soldiers were killed during search missions).
Bergdahl, who was freed on May 31 after five years in captivity, has been recovering in a military hospital in Germany. He flew back to the States yesterday and arrived in San Antonio this morning. This, officials say, is the start of the final step to reintegrate the sergeant back into society. CNN reports:
The San Antonio Military Medical Center has a room ready for him and a support team is standing by. The first meeting between Bergdahl and his parents may only last minutes depending on what psychologists recommend, said Army spokeswoman Arwen Consaul. Bergdahl's daily routine will focus on four key areas: medical care, psychological support, debriefings and family support. "This is to help a person who has had no control of their own life for years now regain that control step by step," she said.
He could spend weeks in counseling before finally reuniting with his parents, in an effort to make sure that the emotional meeting and inevitable media exposure doesn't overwhelm him. "Our first priority is making sure that Sergeant Bergdahl continues to get the care and support he needs,” said Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John F. Kirby. After that, it's not clear if the army will further investigate his desertion, or leave him be.