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Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl Heading Back to U.S.

Two senior defense officials say the freed Taliban prisoner will arrive at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio sometime after midnight.
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Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl left a military hospital in Germany on Thursday afternoon and will arrive in the United States early Friday, officials said.

The former Taliban prisoner is expected to land in San Antonio overnight and be taken to the Brooke Army Medical Center.

Bergdahl will not make any public appearances during Phase 3 of his reintegration process, and there will be no media access to his return or his stay at Brooke Army Medical Center.

'Our first priority is making sure that Sgt. Bergdahl continues to get the care and support he needs," Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said.

After being freed from nearly five years of Taliban captivity in a controversial prisoner swap, Bergdahl was sent to the U.S. military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany.

Earlier this week, officials said Bergdahl was in “good enough physical condition to allow him to return to the United States,” but “not ready psychologically or emotionally."

At that point, he had not yet spoken to his family in Hailey, Idaho, where a big homecoming celebration was canceled amid a firestorm over the circumstances of his disappearance and debate over the prisoner exchange that won his release.

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Some of Bergdahl's fellow former soldiers have portrayed him as a deserter who walked off a remote outpost in eastern Afghanistan before he was captured.

They claim other service members were killed looking for him, but Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel disputed that during a congressional hearing on Wednesday.

The Pentagon says the details of how Bergdahl ended up in enemy hands will be investigated, but has defended the secret deal that freed him.

The trade has been attacked by members of Congress who are outraged that they were not told ahead of time, and by those who say the five Taliban detainees transferred out of Guantanamo Bay to Qatar were too dangerous to free.