Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl Returns to Active Duty


0  Updated at 1:35 pm, July 14th, 2014 By: ABC Digital
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U.S. Army via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will work a “desk job” now that he has completed his reintegration process and returned to regular duties as an Army soldier, the Army said Monday.

The former Taliban prisoner will be assigned to the headquarters of U.S. Army North at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.

Bergdahl has been assigned to the command to do administrative duties commensurate with his rank as a sergeant, Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said.  

“To use a slang term, he’ll be working a desk job,” Warren added.

Bergdahl, 28, will be living in the noncommissioned barracks at Fort Sam Houston.

“Sgt. Bergdahl is not restricted in any way,” Warren said. “He is a normal soldier now.”

Col. Scott Blechwell, a spokesman for U.S. Army North, told ABC News that Bergdahl has been assigned a sponsor to help him adjust to working at the command. Bleichwell said new soldiers to the command are typically assigned sponsors when they arrive at the command.

“They help the soldier to transition into the unit, and are there to assist as he needs both in the work environment and anything else,” he added.

The completion of the counseling and treatment he received during his reintegration process means that Bergdahl can now be interviewed for the ongoing investigation into his disappearance from his outpost in eastern Afghanistan in 2009.

Held captive by the Taliban for almost five years, Bergdahl was released on May 31 in exchange for the transfer of five detainees held at Guantanamo. Those detainees are to remain in Qatar for a year.

“Sgt. Bergdahl has completed the final phase of the reintegration process under the control of U.S. Army South and is currently being assigned to U.S. Army North, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston (JBSA),” said an Army statement.

“He will now return to regular duty within the command where he can contribute to the mission.  The Army investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding the disappearance and capture of Bergdahl is still ongoing,” the statement continued.

Bergdahl began the three step reintegration process in Afghanistan shortly after his release. That process helps detainees held for long periods of time slowly adjust to being back in the United States. It also includes debriefings to help reconstruct the conditions the individual may have suffered during captivity.

Bergdahl was flown to the Landsthul Regional Medical Center in Germany where he remained for almost two weeks. Though there is no timeline for how long each step of the reintegration process is supposed to take, his stay at Landstuhl was longer than the 72 hours that had initially been projected by some officials.

Bergdahl continued his treatment at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, where he remained for almost a month. Warren said he did not believe that Bergdahl spoke with his parents while he was going through the reintegration process.

Halfway through his stay in San Antonio, the Army said that Bergdahl would be continuing his treatment as an outpatient.

Maj. General Lenneth Dahl is overseeing the Army’s investigation into the circumstances surrounding Bergdahl’s disappearance from his unit in June 2009.

Defense officials say an initial investigation completed in 2009 determined that Bergdahl had voluntarily left his outpost though it could not determine his intent.

Army investigators have held off interviewing Bergdahl about his disappearance until after he completed his reintegration process.

Dahl’s investigation is set to wrap up in mid-August. The investigation’s conclusions will help determine whether Bergdahl will face any punishments  for his actions.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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