Saturday marks three years since Hailey native Bowe Bergdahl left his base in Afghanistan and was captured by the Taliban. In a statement issued Friday, his family members say they’re thankful for the continued support of their son.
The family issued the statement through the Idaho National Guard. The Bergdahls say the yellow ribbons they continue to see around Hailey remind them that the Bowe has not been forgotten. They add that they hope this is the year their son is safely returned home.
The statement also included comments from the Defense Department. It says the military maintains a “constant focus” on freeing Bergdahl, and that resources are committed to doing that every day. Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. John Kirby says the military’s thoughts and prayers and hearts go out to the Bergdahl family, over what he calls the “anguish they continue to endure”.
Idaho Governor Butch Otter also released a statement.
Meanwhile, the town of Hailey is preparing for its 4th of July parade. Bergdahl has been selected as its honorary grand marshal. The town had hoped he’d be able to serve in that role, in-person.
The following statement is provided for release by the family of U.S. Army Soldier Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, June 29, 2012 (statement released through the Idaho National Guard)
“June 30th marks the end of three years captivity for our son, U.S. Army Soldier Bowe Bergdahl by the Taliban in Eastern Afghanistan. We remain hopeful for the release of our son and we will continue to work to make that happen. 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.”
Department of Defense statement: “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.
Statement from Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter: “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.”