Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl could have a tax-free $350,000 dropped into his bank account if the current investigation into his disappearance from his base in Afghanistan was not desertion, and if he is deemed to have been a prisoner of war for the five years he was held by Islamic militants, Fox News has learned.
The 28-year-old soldier, for whom the U.S. traded five senior Taliban operatives held at Guantanamo Bay, was set to return to active duty Monday after spending six weeks in medical rehab at Fort Sam Houston, in San Antonio.
“Essentially he’ll be working a desk job,” Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren told reporters at the Pentagon Monday.
Bergdahl is due approximately $200,000 in back pay for the time he was in Taliban hands. He would be eligible for another $150,000 if an ongoing probe determines he was a prisoner of war. Both sums could be tax free for Bergdahl, who was promoted from private first class to sergeant during the time he was held.
Bergdahl was moved to the U.S. Army North command on Saturday, shifting from the U.S. Army South command, which had overseen his arrival in the U.S. and reintegration. Under Army North, he will return to work and live in standard military barracks. He is being assigned to the protocol office, which assists soldiers in military procedures and etiquette.
“That’s the worst place to put him. They’re pulling his clearance so I’m not sure what he’s supposed to do,” said one Army official, speaking on the condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to publicly discuss the sergeant’s case.
Bergdahl is now able to leave the base and is escorted by his care team when he does. He recently visited a shopping mall to buy items for his computer and the group was seen at a local restaurant, say people with knowledge of his movements.
Bergdahl still has not spoken to his parents, although he has sent two letters to them at their home in Idaho. Robert and Jani Bergdahl have yet to visit him in Texas, and there are reports of a rift in the family.
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