Freed Soldier’s Parents Say They’re Proud of Son

ABC News – by Rebecca Boone

The father of an American soldier who was just released after spending five years in the hands of the Taliban says his family is starting on the next step of a long mission: Helping Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl recover from his ordeal.

“We’re still in recovery mode ourselves, let alone our concern about how Bowe is going to come back, and what we need to work on,” Bob Bergdahl told dozens of journalists and supporters during a press conference in Boise on Sunday.  

“Someday there will be a time for interviews and books and whatever. I have a lot to say about this. I know Bowe is going to have a lot to say about this. But that’s still a distant, future thing, and I won’t let things get in the way of Bowe’s recovery,” he said.

Bowe Bergdahl was captured in 2009, and questions remain about the circumstances of his capture and the U.S. government’s decision to release five Guantanamo terrorism detainees in exchange for his freedom.

Bob and Jani Bergdahl declined to answer questions about that and other matters on Sunday, but they both expressed joy and gratitude for Bergdahl’s safety, at times choking back tears.

Bob Bergdahl said he admired his son’s patience, perseverance and ability to adapt during nearly five years as a prisoner of the Taliban. Bowe Bergdahl was freed Saturday in exchange for five Guantanamo terrorism detainees.

“But most of all, I’m proud of how much you wanted to help the Afghan people, and what you were willing to do to go to that length,” Bob Bergdahl said, fighting back tears during a press conference in Boise.

“And I think you have succeeded,” he added.

Bob Bergdahl didn’t elaborate.

In 2012, Rolling Stone magazine quoted emails Bergdahl is said to have sent to his parents that suggest he was disillusioned with America’s mission in Afghanistan, had lost faith in the U.S. Army’s mission there and was considering desertion. Bergdahl told his parents he was “ashamed to even be American.” The Associated Press could not independently authenticate the emails.

Bergdahl’s parents spoke about what they anticipate will be a long healing process as their son reintegrates into American society.

“We’re talking like this because we haven’t talked to Bowe yet,” Bob Bergdahl told the crowd of about three dozen journalists and nearly as many supporters of prisoners of war and those missing in action at the Idaho National Guard’s Gowen Field. “That’s because Bowe has been gone so long that it’s going to be very difficult to come back.”

Bowe Bergdahl will begin the reintegration process at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, where he will be given time to tell his story, decompress and reconnect with his family through telephone calls and video conferences, a U.S. defense official said Saturday. Eventually, he is expected to be taken to a military base in Texas to reunite with his family.

Bob Bergdahl urged Bowe to trust his military reintegration team, and Jani Bergdahl told her son to take all the time he needs to heal and decompress. They said they were grateful for the work that the U.S. government and other countries — including Qatar, which served as a go-between in the negotiations — did to bring their son home.

“You are from a strong tribe, you are even stronger now,” Jani Bergdahl said. “Five years is a seemingly endless long time, but you’ve made it. … You are free. Freedom is yours. I will see you soon, my beloved son.”

The parents were expected to head home to their small central Idaho town of Hailey on Sunday afternoon. They will be greeted by a community in celebration — yellow ribbons and support rallies have become a defining symbol of the region since Bergdahl was captured.

Bouquets of yellow balloons on the doors of Wood River Valley’s Presbyterian church met congregants Sunday morning, and ushers handed out yellow ribbons.

“Praise God for Bowe’s release,” church greeters said in welcome.

The Bergdahls usually attend the church and would give near weekly updates on the efforts to bring their son home.

On Sunday, the service was performed by former pastor Al Oliver, who led the church for nearly 15 years and knows the Bergdahl family.

“I am so happy to return here today after a joyous event,” Oliver said. “It’s a great time for celebration.”


Associated Press writer Kimberlee Kruesi contributed to this story from Hailey, Idaho.

18 thoughts on “Freed Soldier’s Parents Say They’re Proud of Son

  1. So this “captured” American soldier gets released, and while getting cleaned up for his photo op, gets his hair slicked back. But what about that beard? Comb and brush that out to make it as big and fluffy as possible.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t he still in the Army until he gets his official discharge, and subject to the facial hair rules? If he wasn’t forced to shave that, then orders came from pretty high up to let him keep it. Especially when he’s getting official photos standing next to Obama.

    One look and you know where his loyalties lie. Any true soldier would be posing in uniform. But then again, with that beard, maybe he is…

    1. Agreed. But after reading a little bit about him, it seems he doesn’t follow any belief for too long. But I am a little surprised he’s an Infantryman (or at least he was). That training has stayed with me for life.

      Stay Alert, Stay Alive
      US Army 11B38A

      1. My fault for posting on a Monday morning before coffee.

        honestly though, I haven’t been paying much attention to anything coming out of this administration because it’s all theater.

  2. I’m not sure how it works today, but when I got out in “76” we were placed on inactive reserve status and were required to turn in our class “A’s” when we were discharged and put on inactive status. We were not allowed to ware any military uniform for any reason. We were also not required to adhere to 35-10 standards unless we were recalled to active duty. Then we were required to report in 35-10 compliance.

    1. I’ve still got my Class A’s from active duty (got out of Active in 88, and did Active Reserve for about 4 more after that). In fact there is a lot of stuff I made sure to hold on to from my time in service, both Active and Reserve, if you know what I mean. Because, somehow, I knew that I would have a reason to utilize all my resources in the future (which apparently is now).

      And, no, this guy does NOT look traumatized.

      It’s getting ready to hit the fan.

  3. Yea, he trained them how to play badminton. Sounds like he was being oh so tortured. This whole charade is one big crock of shit. He’s a CIA plant or paid actor. Who knows anymore. I’m sick of this dog and pony shit. Hang the treasonous bastards!

  4. perhaps the terrorist have watched the first season of ‘homeland’ on showtime and decided to try it out.

    1. Well then lets hope he wastes no time in putting on his explosive vest and ridding us of some politicians.

  5. Bat Ear’s had to of set this up because of all the crap falling down around his ear’s with the military as well as all the other B.S. that’s going on. The first thing that came to mind when I heard about this was TREASON. They have now opened the door(because of negotiations directly or indirectly with terrorist’s) to a crap load of problems. A photo op for bat ear’s to flaunt to the sheep while he’s shoving the knife up our asses. I still don’t understand why we get one and they get what four or five. Maybe they have been negotiating with the gitmo guy’s on what they want them to do to us and they now have the plan worked out.

    1. Im wondering if these guys that were exchanged could of had an rfid place in them so they could be tracked.

  6. “You are from a strong tribe, you are even stronger now,” Jani Bergdahl said. “Five years is a seemingly endless long time, but you’ve made it. … You are free. Freedom is yours. I will see you soon, my beloved son.”


    Wrong planet. lady.

  7. What is the big deal about this guy anyway?
    It’s not like he was super important. There are much more worthy individuals wasiting away in jails around the world.
    And why would this guy have cost such a high price?
    5 high price prisoners? For a traitor?
    This stinks.

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