Hamill Makes Statement

By: ABC News
By: ABC News

Thomas Hamill's reunion with his wife has been delayed slightly. The Macon, Mississippi, man who escaped from his Iraqi kidnappers over the weekend, made his first public remarks Tuesday. We also learned new details of his captivity.

Thomas Hamill walked out of the U.S. military hospital in Germany to the glare of the sun and the spotlight.

"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," said Hamill.

His doctors say Hamill will need some reconstructive surgery for a wound on his arm, but that otherwise he is in good shape.

Despite being held in filthy conditions, Hamill's captors fed him, treated his wound, and even gave him antibiotics, the same captors who threatened to kill him if the U.S. didn't leave Fallujah.

"He didn't talk about it as a very frightening or threatening experience," said Maj. Kerry Jepsen, M.D., of Landstuhl Medical Center, Germany.

Hamill said he 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 that are still missing.

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

Hamill's reunion with his wife, Kellie, has been delayed due to passport problems, but she is expected to join him in Germany Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon announced Tuesday that U.S. troops will remain at their current level of 135,000 in Iraq until the end of 2005.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said 10,000 active-duty Army soldiers and Marines will be sent to Iraq this summer to replace two units that already saw their return date pushed back once. Another 10,000 will be sent later to fill out the replacement forces.


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