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Captured U.S. soldier receives second promotion in two years

By the CNN Wire Staff
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was a private first class at the time of his capture in 2009.
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was a private first class at the time of his capture in 2009.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Bowe Bergdahl disappeared in June 2009 in Afghanistan
  • He has been in several videos released by the Taliban
  • He has been promoted from specialist to sergeant, U.S. Central Command says
  • Bergdahl's father last month used a YouTube video recording to plead for his release
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(CNN) -- A U.S. soldier captured in Afghanistan in 2009 has received his second promotion while in captivity, U.S. Central Command announced Friday.

With the promotion, Bowe Bergdahl, 25, rises to the rank of sergeant. He was last promoted in June 2010 to the rank of specialist, according to Central Command.

Brig. Gen. Rick Mustion, the adjutant general of the Army, traveled to Bergdahl's hometown of Hailey, Idaho, on Thursday to deliver the promotion certificate to his parents.

The Army has been giving Bergdahl promotions that would have come to him had his Army career gone as planned. If he returns home safely, the Army will give him all the back pay that he has earned while in captivity.

Bergdahl was a private first class when he disappeared in June 2009, after finishing his guard shift at a combat outpost in southeastern Afghanistan's Paktika province. He has been seen in several videos released by the Taliban.

His whereabouts today are unknown, though some security analysts say it is likely he is in Pakistan.

In December, Bergdahl appeared in footage released by Manba al-Jihad, a video production group associated with the Taliban.

A speaker said the Paktia mujahedeen captured the soldier, and he is in the custody of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (the Taliban) and has all "Islamic rights." In the nearly 45-minute video, Bowe Bergdahl wears an open-necked tan shirt and has a large abrasion on his left cheek, just below the eye.

Bergdahl's father, Robert Bergdahl, made his first public appeal last month for his son's release, using a YouTube video recording to address the Taliban and its allies.

In the video, the elder Bergdahl also conveyed "compassionate respect" to the people of Pakistan, who have endured war, earthquakes, floods and crop failures.

He concluded the video with a message to his son: "God bless you! We love you! We have been quiet in public, but we have not been quiet behind the scenes. Continue to be patient and kind to those around you. You are not forgotten. You are not forgotten."

Bergdahl is assigned to 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska.

CNN's Larry Shaughnessy contributed to this report.

 
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