Saturday, June 14, 2014

Bowe Bergdahl's Reintegration: Salutes, Privacy and Peanut Butter

Posted By on Sat, Jun 14, 2014 at 9:43 AM

U.S. Army officials want to do everything they can to stem an enormous storm of media scrutiny waiting to sweep down on Idaho native and Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

"At some point he will be exposed to the controversy and the media," said Col. Bradley Poppen, an Army psychologist who has worked with Bergdahl. But "we want to titrate that."

Bergdahl touched down on U.S. soil early Friday for the first time in nearly five years of captivity in Afghanistan. Officials at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, said that Bergdahl "appeared just like any sergeant" when he exchanged salutes with commanders. He walked into to Brooke Army Medical Center without assistance.

"We are pleased with his physical state," said Col. Ronald Wool, a gastroenterologist supervising Bergdahl's treatment. "It's a slow decompression, to introduce him slowly to what's been happening over the past five years."

And small things matter right now because Bergdahl, for the first time in years, is able to make some choices, including what he eats.

"Peanut butter is a favorite," Wool said.

Meanwhile, Bergdahl's family is being extremely careful not to make their travel plans public. It is believed that they will see their son sometime in the near future at the San Antonio military medical facility but they're not anxious to make it a media event.

Only two weeks ago, the Bergdahls stood in the White House Rose Garden alongside President Barack Obama to announce the freedom of their son.

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