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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Meets With Team That Rescued Hostage U.S. Soldier

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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel listens questions from members of the media during a briefing during his flight over Canada en route to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Wednesday, May 28, 2014 . Hagel has begun a 12-day trip to Asia and Europe, his fourteenth international trip, to discuss regional and global issues with leaders of several countries. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, POOL) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met with more than a dozen members of the special operations team that participated in the rescue of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl (boh BURG'-dahl), an American soldier held by the Taliban.

Hagel and the special ops team met quietly in a separate part of a hangar where he also spoke to a large group of U.S. troops.

According to a U.S. official, Hagel thanked them and told them they represented the true spirit of never leaving a comrade behind.

They largely kept out of sight. But as the special operations forces walked past their body armor and occasional beards and less clean-cut looks made it evident who they were.

Hagel told them that while they participated in an important mission they do many other jobs that often go unrecognized.

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