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Army: Bergdahl 'looked good' after returning to US

In this image taken from video obtained from Voice Of Jihad Website, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, sits in a vehicle guarded by the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan. A U.S. defense official says released captive Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is scheduled to arrive at a military medical center in Texas on Friday. The official, who spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity because the plan has not been publicly announced, declined to provide details. Officials had previously said the intention was for Bergdahl to be reunited with his family at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Voice Of Jihad Website via AP video)

In this image taken from video obtained from Voice Of Jihad Website, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, sits in a vehicle guarded by the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan. A U.S. defense official says released captive Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is scheduled to arrive at a military medical center in Texas on Friday. The official, who spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity because the plan has not been publicly announced, declined to provide details. Officials had previously said the intention was for Bergdahl to be reunited with his family at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Voice Of Jihad Website via AP video)

Vehicles drive toward the entrance of Brooke Army Medical Center Friday, June 13, 2014, in San Antonio. Bowe Bergdahl, the Army sergeant who has been recovering in Germany after five years as a Taliban captive, returned to the United States early Friday to continue his medical treatment at the facility. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

In this image from video people are greeted on arrival at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio Texas early Friday morning June 13, 2014. Bowe Bergdahl, the Army sergeant who has been recovering in Germany after five years as a Taliban captive, returned to the United States on this plane early Friday to continue his medical treatment. (AP Photo/AP Video)

Brooke Army Medical Center is shown Thursday, June 12, 2014, in San Antonio. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who has been recovering in Germany after five years as a Taliban captive, is returning to the United States and is expected to arrive at the facility early Friday morning. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Brooke Army Medical Center is shown Friday, June 13, 2014, in San Antonio. Bowe Bergdahl, the Army sergeant who has been recovering in Germany after five years as a Taliban captive, returned to the United States early Friday to continue his medical treatment at the facility. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

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SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl “looked good” after arriving back in the United States and is working daily with health professionals after being held by the Taliban for five years in Afghanistan, military officials said Friday.

Bergdahl’s family has not joined him since he arrived at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston after midnight Friday, and Army officials would not say when relatives might show up.

Maj. Gen. Joseph P. DiSalvo said during a news conference Friday that Bergdahl was in stable condition, “looked good” and showed “good comportment” after being transported to Texas from an Army medical facility in Germany.

“The reintegration of Sgt. Bergdahl is comprehensive. There is no set timeline,” said DiSalvo, who will be in charge of that process.

As far as Bergdahl’s interaction with relatives, Col. Bradley Poppen, an Army psychologist, said a soldier typically determines when to reunite with his or her family. Poppen declined to release further details, citing the family’s request for privacy.

Military officials declined to give details on what Bergdahl might remember about his capture or what he knows about the public uproar surrounding his capture and release.

A three-vehicle convoy greeted Bergdahl at Fort Sam shortly after midnight Friday. Officials said he able to walk on his own and appeared “a little nervous,” as they said any sergeant would when greeted by a two-star general. In the short time he has been back on U.S. soil, Bergdahl has been on a bland diet and has shown a fondness for peanut butter, they said.

Bergdahl also arrived speaking English, though officials indicated his speech had been impacted from being in captivity for so long.

“Overall our assessment is that he did not have the opportunity the past five years to practice and speak his English,” said Col. Ronald Wood, who is in charge of Bergdahl’s medical care.

Army officials briefed the media at a golf course near Fort Sam Houston and said no reporters would be allowed onto the base or in the hospital.

Officials have kept a lid on details of Bergdahl’s condition out of concern that he not be rushed back into the public spotlight.

The Idaho native was captured in Afghanistan in June 2009 and released 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.

The Army has not formally begun a new review into the circumstances of Bergdahl’s capture and whether he walked away without leave or was deserting the Army when he was found and taken by insurgents.

In a statement Friday, the Army said that after Bergdahl’s reintegration it would “continue its comprehensive review into the circumstances of his disappearance and captivity.”

The answers to those questions will be key to whether Bergdahl will receive more than $300,000 in back pay owed to him since he disappeared. If he was determined to have been a prisoner of war, he also could receive roughly another $300,000 or more, if recommended and approved by Army leaders.

Before his departure from Germany on Thursday, officials in Washington said Bergdahl would not receive the automatic Army promotion that would have taken effect this month if he were still in captivity. Now that he is back in U.S. military control, any promotions would depend on his performance and achievement of certain training and education milestones.

Bergdahl had been at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany since June 1, the day after the prisoner exchange.

Many have criticized the Obama administration for agreeing to release five Taliban prisoners in exchange for Bergdahl. Some of Bergdahl’s former Army colleagues have accused him of deserting his post.

Critics also have said the five Taliban members could return to the battlefield. Administration officials have told Congress that four of the five Taliban officials likely will rejoin the fight.

___

Associated Press writers Robert Burns and Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report from Washington, D.C.

Associated Press

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