Wounded Contractor Escapes Terrorist Captors

US civilian constructor Thomas Hamill,43, of Macon, Mississipi waves to the media at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, western Germany, Tuesday May 4, 2004. Hamill was kidnapped three weeks ago in an insurgent attack on his convoy in Iraq and was found by US forces Sunday, May 2, 2004, south of Tikrit.

Hermann J. Knippertz / AP Photo

TIKRIT, Iraq, May 2, 2004 – At approximately 11:15 a.m. Sunday near Balad, south of Tikrit, a patrol from Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry Regiment from the New York Army National Guard was approached by a wounded man claiming to be an American.

The man identified himself as Thomas Hamill, the American truck driver working for Kellogg Brown and Root (a subsidiary of Halliburton Corp.) who had been taken hostage by anti-coalition forces on April 9. Several other contractors and an American soldier were also captured during the incident.

Hamill led the combat patrol to the house where he had been held captive. And there the unit quickly secured the area and conducted a search where they located two Iraqis with an AK47 who had been holding Hamill captive. They were arrested and are currently being detained.

A Medevac helicopter was called for Hamill, and he was transported to a nearby military base and subsequently to Baghdad where he is reportedly being treated for a bullet wound infection, but is believed to be in stable condition.

U.S. General Kimmitt speaking on Hamill’s condition said at a press conference in Baghdad that Hamill is in "good health".

Thomas Hamill’s escape from his Iraqi captors is still the topic of conversation in shops around Macon and among leaders in the small east Mississippi community, as evidenced by the yellow ribbons, American flags and this photo tribute to the former hostage, shown in this photograph taken Monday, May 3, 2004, in downtown Macon, Miss. Town officials say that they are pushing ahead with plans for a big parade celebrating freedom for one of their own. Hamill, a contract truck driver for a Halliburton subsidiary, escaped his captors Sunday. He has been treated since Monday at a western Germany facility for a wounded arm. His wife, Kellie, joined him in Germany on Wednesday.

Rogelio Solis / AP Photo

Hamill, a Macon, Mississippi native, reportedly called home from the hospital and spoke with his wife and family to tell of his escape and to comfort them.

The contractor was seized April 9th during a terrorist insurgent attack on a supply convoy west of Baghdad.

Also during the weekend, contractors with the Task Force Olympia security forces operating near Mosul found several powerful explosives, which they referred to as a "daisy chain" of munitions. The weapons cache included more than 10 live mortar and artillery rounds and numerous inert mortar and artillery shells. The explosive ordnance detail took control of the situation and called for the closure of Highway 1, (a main route between Mosul and Baghdad) while the explosives were dealt with to secure the safety of the area.

Sources: Gerry J. Gilmore, AFPS and CJTF