Friday, July 6, 2012

Idaho soldier begins fourth year in captivity

June 30 marked the beginning of U.S. Army Soldier Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s fourth year of captivity with the Taliban. Sgt. Bergdahl, an Idaho resident, is being held in Eastern Afghanistan.

“June 30 marks the end of three years captivity for our son. We remain hopeful for the release of our son and we will continue to work to make that happen,” said the family in an official statement.

“We would like to thank the organizers and participants in a number of events around our nation who have rallied to bring awareness to our cause of bringing Bowe home. The yellow ribbons we see all around our own community remind us that our son has not been forgotten here at home or around the world. We’d also like to ask each of you as individuals and as a nation for your continued awareness as Bowe begins his fourth year as a prisoner. We want this to be the year we see our only son safely returned home.”

The Defense Department remains focused on efforts to return the only U.S. service member known to be in Taliban captivity to his family, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. John Kirby said. Kirby told reporters that freeing Army Sgt. Bowe R. Bergdahl is a constant focus for commanders in Afghanistan.

“Every day…there is time, attention and sometimes substantial resources applied to trying to locate, identify where he is and to continue to look at options for how to get him home,” he said.

Kirby was asked about Bergdahl during a regular meeting with the Pentagon press corps. The 26-year-old soldier was found missing from his duty station in eastern Afghanistan on June 30, 2009 and was declared missing/captured three days later.

Bergdahl, from Hailey, Idaho, is assigned to the 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, based at Fort Richardson, Alaska.

The Defense Department is keeping the Bergdahl family informed of efforts to find and return their son, Kirby said.

“Our thoughts and prayers and our hearts go out to the Bergdahl family and we appreciate the anguish that they continue to endure,” he added.

“It’s a sad day for all Idahoans as we face the reality that one of our native sons is about to enter his fourth year in captivity,” said Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter. “But I know the Department of Defense and other U.S. agencies are doing all they can to safely bring Sgt. Bergdahl home to his family.

“Since this began three years ago, I have met with the Bergdahls several times and am impressed with the fortitude they’ve shown throughout this unimaginable ordeal. I know that part of their strength comes from the support they receive in their community, from citizens around our state and our nation.

“Please continue to keep the Bergdahls in your thoughts and prayers as we look forward to the day Bowe Bergdahl safely returns to Idaho,” concluded Gov. Otter.

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