Hamill Speaks Publicly For First Time Since Escape - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

05/04/04

Hamill Speaks Publicly For First Time Since Escape

Thomas Hamill is spending his first full day at a U.S. military hospital in Germany. The Mississippi man, who escaped from his Iraqi kidnappers over the weekend, is recuperating well from a gunshot wound to his arm. His wife will join him Wednesday.

Thomas Hamill walked out of the U.S. military hospital in Germany to the glare of sun and the spotlight. The Mississippi dairy farmer who risked it all for the promise of riches as a truck driver in Iraq, made his first comments since his escape.

"I am feeling well and having few problems with my injury. I would like everyone to know that I have received excellent care, and I am looking forward to uniting with my wife in the morning," Hamill said.

His doctors say he'll need some reconstructive surgery for the wound he sustained on his arm when his convoy was attacked on April 9. Hamill's captors fed him and gave him bandages to dress his wound - the same captors who on this tape threatened to kill him if the U.S. didn't pull out of Falluja.

"He didn't talk about it as a very frightening or threatening experience. I'm sure there were times when he was, but that wasn't a major portion of what went on," Major Kerry Jepsen, MD said.

In fact, Hamill had successfully escaped before, but couldn't get in contact with U.S. troops and so went back to his captors. On his second attempt, he heard the sweet sound of American Humvees and made a run for it.

Hamill's thoughts now are on returning home and on those still missing.

"I would like to thank the American public for their support of all deployed in the Middle East. Please keep your thoughts and prayers for those who are still there," Hamill said.

The whereabouts of several of Hamill's co-workers at Kellog, Brown, and Root, and U.S. Private First Class Keith Maupin have been unknown since the ambush. Thomas Hamill is expected to return to his home in Macon, Mississippi this week.

by Stephanie Sy, ABC News

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