In a move that garnered international headlines, the U.S. Army private sprinted into North Korea on July 18 after being released from a South Korea prison on an assault conviction.
A U.S. defense official confirmed to USA TODAY King landed in San Antonio, Texas, home to Brooke Army Medical Center, where Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was treated after being released in 2014 by Taliban captors in Afghanistan.
An escort and a handshake
Footage provided by San Antonio TV station KSAT appears to show King − dressed in a polo shirt, slacks and tennis shoes − walk down passenger stairs off a large plane escorted by three unidentified men.
After descending the stairs the video shows he is greeted by someone dressed in civilian clothing, flanked by three uniformed soldiers, and the pair shake hands.
The group then walks off behind an unidentified building.
Senior White House officials said Wednesday King's release was secured with the help of Sweden and China, though North Korea said it expelled King after completing an investigation into what it described as a defection motivated by "racial discrimination" and "inequality existing within American society."
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'Good health... Good spirits'
King, who bolted across one of the world's most heavily weaponized borders into the country, appeared to be in “good health” and “good spirits,” senior administration officials told USA TODAY on a condition of anonymity this week. King had already spoken with his family.
“We can confirm that Pvt. King was very happy to be on his way home,” an official told reporters Wednesday before National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan officially announced King’s return in a statement.
Initially, King was headed to Fort Bliss, Texas, where he faced the possibility of further U.S. military disciplinary action. Instead, the soldier joined a civilian tour of a border village between the two Koreas. After crossing into North Korea, he became the first American confirmed to be detained in the reclusive country in nearly five years.
Contributing: Maureen Groppe, Kim Hjelmgaard and Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY
Natalie Neysa Alund is a senior reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter @nataliealund.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Video: Travis King lands in Texas after North Korea detainment