The newly freed soldier who spent nearly five years in captivity in Afghanistan has the mental and physical toughness to survive the experience, his former pastor said.
Bowe Bergdahl grew up in a conservative Christian family in Idaho, studied ballet, was home-schooled, spent time in a Buddhist monastery and finally served in a parachute infantry regiment of the Army’s 25th Infantry Division.
“If there’s anybody I can think of pulling through this, and doing well, it’s Bowe,” said Philip Proctor, who was pastor of Sovereign Redeemer Presbyterian church in Boise, Idaho, when Bergdahl was a teenager.
“He has the mental and physical stamina not to be crushed by this experience,” Proctor said.
Bergdahl — the last servicemember unaccounted for in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars — was released Saturday after being captured in 2009. The 28-year-old soldier is currently at a medical clinic in the U.S. base at Bagram, Afghanistan, said Army Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale, a spokesman for the Department of Defense. He’ll eventually travel to Germany before heading back to the states.
At the White House on Saturday evening, Bergdahl’s parents, Bob and Jani, joined President Obama, who praised the troops and government officials who rescued their son.
“We will continue to stay strong for Bowe while he recovers,” Jani Bergdahl said after Obama turned the podium over to her.
Bob Bergdahl, the sergeant’s father, said he is not sure whether his son can still speak English, and he made some of his remarks in what appeared to be the Pashtun language. “I’m your father, Bowe,” the elder Bergdahl said at one point.
SOURCE: Elizabeth Weise