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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    United States

    NEWS: Kidnapped U.S. contractor found safe

    BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- An American contractor, missing since a convoy attack last month, was recovered and is in good health after apparently escaping from his captors, U.S. Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt announced Sunday.

    Kimmitt identified the man as Thomas Hamill, 43, of Macon, Mississippi, who was seen in Australian news video broadcast shortly after his capture.

    "He came out of a building and identified himself to American forces," Kimmitt said. "This is a preliminary report that we have that indicate it was an escape from the building.

    "When he saw the American forces he identified himself and was subsequently recovered."

    Hamill is a contractor with Kellogg, Brown & Root, a subsidiary of oilfield services contractor Halliburton Co.

    The announcement came on the same day that nine U.S. troops were killed in Iraq in separate incidents, according to the U.S. military.

    'Best wake-up call'
    Kellie Hamill, the contractor's wife, spoke with The Associated Press after hearing from her husband on the phone in Iraq.

    She said it was "the best wake-up call I've ever had."

    "He sounded wonderful, so wonderful. He said he was fine," she told the AP. "He said he was more worried about his mom, his grandmother, me and our kids."

    He was locked in a building, she said, and "he said he heard a military convoy come by and pried the door open. He said he ran half a mile down the road and got with the convoy. Isn't that something?"

    Kellie Hamill said she didn't know when her husband would return home. "He said there was a lot going on," she told the AP. "He didn't know when he would get back because they are doing a bunch of other stuff," such as being questioned by military officials and medical examinations.

    Thomas Hamill went missing on April 9 with two still-missing U.S. soldiers, after their fuel convoy was attacked near Baghdad International Airport.

    Kimmitt said Hamill was recovered south of Tikrit, some 100 miles away from his capture site.

    Kimmitt described Hamill as "in good health."

    After contacting American forces, Hamill then took U.S. troops to the house where he was held hostage, a U.S. military official said.

    Maj. Neal O'Brien, with the 1st Infantry Division, said a military unit "conducted a hasty cordon and search of the area and detained two Iraqi citizens with one AK-47 rifle."

    The unit called for a Medevac helicopter, and Hamill was evacuated to a hospital, where he is in stable condition, O'Brien said.

    Halliburton Co. reacted to the news of Hamill's freedom in a statement posted on its Web site. "It is with great joy and relief that we confirm the safety of Thomas Hamill, one of our colleagues involved in a convoy ambush on April 9 in Iraq," the statement said.

    "During the past 23 days, we all have had a sense of captivity but we are extremely grateful for the safety of Tommy, a father and husband as well as our friend and coworker."

    Hamill, a struggling Mississippi dairy farmer, decided to sell his herd last September and take a high-paying but dangerous job as a truck driver in Iraq. (Full story)

    Hamill went missing with six other KBR employees. Four of them have been found dead: Geoff Parker, Jack Montague, Steven Hewlitt and Tony Johnson.

    Pfc. Keith Maupin, of Batavia, Ohio, was also taken hostage and shown in video with his captors. His fate is unknown.

    Kimmitt gave the following list of the current status of captives and missing in Iraq.

    Kimmitt said in addition to Maupin, two Canadian businessmen and three Italian security personnel were being held hostage.

    Two U.S. civilians from the KBR convoy -- Tim Bell and William Bradley -- were missing, Kimmitt said, along with a French news reporter, a German Embassy security official and a Jordanian businessman.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Great news for his family.

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