Former Taliban captive Bowe Bergdahl touched down in the United States today, two weeks after five Guantanamo prisoners were traded for the 28-year-old’s release.
“Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has arrived at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. While there, he will continue the next phase of his reintegration process. There is no timeline for this process,” said Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby. “Our focus remains on his health and well-being. Secretary Hagel is confident that the Army will continue to ensure that Sgt. Bergdahl receives the care, time and space he needs to complete his recovery and reintegration.”
A statement issued a few hours later by the Army said arrived at the San Antonio Military Medical Facility on Fort Sam Houston early this morning “where he will undergo Phase III reintegration.”
“U.S. Army South is the lead command for reintegration and will ensure Sgt. Bergdahl receives the necessary care, time and space to complete the process. Among other components of this phase, Sgt. Bergdahl will continue to receive medical treatment and debriefings,” the Army said.
“Following Sgt. Bergdahl’s reintegration, the Army will continue its comprehensive review into the circumstances of his disappearance and captivity.”
A senior defense official last week described the reintegration phases to reporters.
“Phase one encompasses the process of transporting the recovered individual to a safe area, to conduct initial medical assessment and time-sensitive debriefings. Phase one will end with the recovered individual being returned to duty or recommended for phase two reintegration,” the official said. “Phase two encompasses the transition from phase one to a theater treatment and processing facility, and further SERE and intelligence debriefings and decompression. Phase two will end with the recovered individual being released to duty or recommended for phase three reintegration.”
“Phase three reintegration begins with the transition of the recovered individual to a phase three team of the appropriate service. The phases do not have a prescribed time limit, and they depend on the needs of the recovered individual in coordination with the concerns of the service and the combatant commanders.”
A Defense Department psychologist said in that briefing that phase three is generally the point for “family unification.”
“Phase one is usually around 48 hours, but has gone as long as 96. Phase two is usually a minimum of five days, has gone as long as three weeks. And phase three has been as short as 24 hours and as long as five years,” the psychologist added.