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Out of captivity, into cowboy boots

Escaped hostage, wife reunited in Army hospital

LANDSTUHL, Germany -- Former American hostage Thomas Hamill was reunited yesterday in Germany with his wife, who brought his favorite cowboy boots, red shirt, and jeans -- and promised him steak and chocolate cake for dinner.

Hamill, a 43-year-old truck driver for a Halliburton subsidiary who escaped his Iraqi captors Sunday, has been treated since Monday at the US military's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center for a wounded arm. Kellie Hamill flew from Mississippi.

"It was a very emotional reunion," said hospital spokeswoman Marie Shaw.

In a statement, Hamill said his treatment is "going very well."

"My recovery is definitely improving now that my wife, Kellie, is here with me," he said. "My only plan now is to go home as soon as possible."

Shaw said she expected that Hamill would be able to head back home to Macon, Miss., by tomorrow.

"I'm ready to get there and hug my children," Hamill said.

Hamill was wounded in the arm and struck in the head with a rifle butt when his convoy was ambushed April 9.

On Sunday, he squeezed open the sheet metal door of a mud farmhouse where he was being held and ran a half mile to a passing US military convoy near the town of Balad, north of Baghdad.

His kidnappers had threatened to kill him unless the United States lifted its siege of Fallujah. US Marines have been pulling back from the city, and an Iraqi force made up of Saddam Hussein-era soldiers is moving in.

Hamill, who works for Halliburton Corp. subsidiary KBR, was among seven American contractors targeted in the April attack. The bodies of four have been found, and two are missing.

A US soldier kidnapped in the attack, Private Keith Maupin of Batavia, Ohio, was seen in separate video footage. The remains of a second soldier missing in the attack, Sergeant Elmer Krause of Greensboro, N.C., were identified April 23.

"Please continue to pray for all the civilians, soldiers, hostages, and my friends and colleagues who are still missing as well as their families that are going through this difficult time," Hamill said in his statement.

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