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    Bowe Bergdahl returned to regular Army duty

    Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl has been assigned to US Army North at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston in Texas.
    Associated Press/File
    Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl has been assigned to US Army North at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston in Texas.

    WASHINGTON — The Army has given Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl a desk job, ending the formal phase of his transition from Taliban prisoner to not-quite-ordinary soldier, and setting the stage for Army investigators to question the Idaho native about his disappearance that led to five years in captivity.

    In a brief statement Monday, the Army said Bergdahl has been assigned to US Army North at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston in Texas.

    Bergdahl has been decompressing and recuperating from the effects of captivity since his arrival there from a military base in Germany. Since he was handed over to US special forces in Afghanistan on May 31, he has been debriefed for any possible intelligence he might have gleaned in his time with the Taliban.


    Otherwise, he has been gently coaxed back into a normal routine and a normal life, both physically and psychologically.

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    Bergdahl’s case is one of the most extraordinary of recent times: for the length of his captivity; for his apparent decision to abandon his unit during a combat deployment; and for the controversy triggered by the circumstances of his release.

    It is not clear when Bergdahl will face investigators. Their findings will help determine whether the 28-year-old is prosecuted for desertion or faces any other disciplinary action. The investigation is headed by Major General Kenneth R. Dahl, deputy commanding general of First Corps at Joint Base Lewis McChord in Washington state.

    Numerous other questions are lingering, including whether Bergdahl will collect the estimated $300,000 in back pay he has accumulated over the past five years.

    Bergdahl walked away from his unit after expressing misgivings about the US military’s role — as well as his own — in Afghanistan. He was captured by Taliban members and held by members of the Haqqani network, an insurgent group tied to the Taliban. He was released as part of a deal in which the United States gave up five top Taliban commanders imprisoned at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. The terms of the deal sparked a political storm in Washington.


    Some former members of Bergdahl’s former unit have labeled him a deserter, asserting that he chose to walk away and saying some were wounded or killed looking for him. The Army has not ruled out disciplinary action against Bergdahl, who was promoted twice during captivity, from private first class to sergeant, as a matter of standard procedure.

    Bergdahl’s exact administrative duties at US Army North were not immediately disclosed, but a Pentagon spokesman, Army Colonel Steve Warren, said Bergdahl is not restricted in any way. The Army said that in his assignment to US Army North he ‘‘can contribute to the mission,’’ which is focused on homeland defense.

    ‘‘He is a normal soldier now,’’ Warren said.

    At the time of his disappearance, Bergdahl was a member of First Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, Fourth Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, based at Fort Richardson, Alaska. An initial military investigation in 2009 concluded that Bergdahl deliberately walked away, based on evidence available at the time.

    Bergdahl, whose family lives in Hailey, Idaho, arrived at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston on June 13 after nearly two weeks recuperating at a US military hospital in Germany. Warren said he did not believe Bergdahl has seen his parents since his return to the United States. Army officials have refused to discuss the question of Bergdahl’s contact with his parents, saying the family requested that it be kept private.


    The focus of his recuperation period in Germany and at San Antonio has been to prepare him for returning to normal life.