WASHINGTON, June 12 (UPI) -- U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is expected to return to the United States from Germany Thursday evening, a U.S. official confirmed.
Bergdahl was held for five years by the Taliban in Afghanistan, before he was exchanged May 31 for five Taliban members detained at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He has been in a military hospital at Landstuhl, Germany, since his release, and will be taken to a military hospital in San Antonio, Texas, to continue his rehabilitation upon his return to the United States.
He has not yet spoken with his family.
There are reports he was captured after he deserted his unit while serving in Afghanistan.
Bergdahl is "continuing to improve every day, "Pentagon spokesman Col. Rick Warren said, adding the "decision to speak with the family is a decision the returnee has to make when he or she is emotionally in the right place to make the phone call."
At a House Armed Services Committee hearing Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, under questioning by Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., angrily defended the decision to keep Bergdahl in Germany, instead of returning him to the U.S. immediately after his release. Miller noted wounded soldiers are typically returned quickly to the United States.
"Wait a minute," Miller said, "Why hasn't he been returned to the United States? You're trying to tell me that he's being held at Landstuhl, Germany, because of his medical condition?"
To which Hagel responded, "Congressman, I hope you're not implying anything other than that."