Published January 14, 2015
Former hostage Thomas Hamill (search), who was shot when he was abducted in Iraq, thanked the American people Tuesday for their thoughts and prayers during his time in captivity.
Hamill, a 43-year-old truck driver for Halliburton subsidiary KBR, waved to reporters with his bandaged right arm from a balcony at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (search). He said he was feeling well and looked forward to reuniting with his wife, Kellie, on Wednesday morning.
"I am very glad to be back on an American installation. I am looking forward to returning to America," he said. He urged Americans to "keep your thoughts and prayers with those who are still" in Iraq.
"First and foremost I would like to thank the American public for their support of all deployed in the Middle East. Please keep your thoughts and prayers with those who are still there," Hamill continued.
Hamill, was treated for the wound and regularly received food during his three weeks in captivity, a U.S. military doctor said Tuesday.
The Macon, Miss., resident, who escaped his captors Sunday in a daring run to freedom, has lost a few pounds but feels "in generally good health," said Maj. Kerry Jepsen (search), a surgeon treating Hamill at a U.S. military hospital in Germany where the ex-captive arrived Monday.
In his escape, Hamill pried open the door of a shack where he was being held and ran a half-mile to a U.S. military convoy passing by near the town of Balad north of Baghdad.
"He feels very lucky to have gotten away," Jepsen told reporters. "He's looking forward to meeting his family and getting back home."
Hamill was shot in the arm when his convoy was ambushed April 9. He recalls receiving medication for the wound and being put under anesthesia after being captured, though it's unclear whether he was taken to a clinic or a doctor came to him, Jepsen said.
His English-speaking captors initially "left him with some water and a couple packages of cookies," Jepsen said.
They frequently moved him from place to place, guarding him in cramped, mosquito-infested rooms where he had to sleep on the floor and had to stay inside during daylight hours, Jepsen said.
On the day he got free, Hamill recognized the rumble of U.S. military vehicles' diesel engines nearby and decided to make a run for it.
"He just said, 'This is my opportunity and I'm going to make it. He's going to have to shoot me or take me out,'" Jepsen said.
Military doctors have said Hamill is in good shape and would likely return home this week.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.