Skip to comments.Transcript: Hamill Would Go Back to Iraq
Posted on 05/23/2004 3:00:37 PM PDT by tricky_k_1972
RITA COSBY: Well, as many of you know I have just returned from Macon, Mississippi where I was able to do the very first TV interview with former hostage Tommy Hamill whose capture and escape made headlines around the globe. Here now, an amazing story of the human spirit, of survival and of a true American patriot.
THOMAS HAMILL: (search) They attacked our convoy.
COSBY (voice-over): The whole world knew his face and name after this dramatic video was released showing steadfast American Tommy Hamill abducted by masked Iraqi insurgents. It was April 9, and his U.S. supply convoy suddenly came under attack on the outskirts of Baghdad during one of the bloodiest days for Americans in war ravaged Iraq.
T. HAMILL: It's a war zone, and you have to learn to live with what's thrown at you every day. We go out every day, you know, knowing the possibility of what could happen.
COSBY: In his first TV interview since the ambush and his incredible escape, Tommy Hamill and his wife of 17 years Kellie, described why this courageous truckdriver and dairy farmer from Macon, Mississippi entered the world's hot spot.
(on camera): How did you find out, here you are in Macon, Mississippi, how did you find out about a job over in Iraq?
T. HAMILL: I ran into a good friend I hadn't seen in years.
b: A fellow trucker?
T. HAMILL: Fellow trucker. He told me about a friend that he knew that had a truck and had just parked his truck and was going to go to work for Halliburton. Had he worked for them before and he was going to work in Iraq, you know, driving a truck. And I said, that's my line. That's something I want to do.
COSBY (voice-over): And it was a chance to possibly triple his normal salary.
COSBY (on camera): You got paid a lot more money. I was reading from $80,000 to $120,000 without taxes. That's a lot of money for a farmer from Mississippi.
T. HAMILL: It's a lot of money. It was probably going to be somewhere in the somewhere around $70,000, I guess.
COSBY (voice-over): Before leaving for Iraq, Hamill was amassed in debt, forced to sell his family farm. But he says there was something much more important than money motivating his mission.
T. HAMILL: And I wanted to go there and see in Iraq. You know, you hear things about these other countries, and how they are, how other people are, you don't know until you actually get in there. And I wanted to go over there and see how these people were living. It's been a great experience for me. I never was able to be in the military. I wanted to serve my country in some way and I thought this was the way to do it.
COSBY: Although he said, look, I want to go over there, I want to help my country, you had to have been worried that your husband said, I want to go to Iraq.
KELLIE HAMILL, THOMAS HAMILL'S WIFE: Well, I mean I was worried, but I mean, I knew the lord would be taking care of him, watch over him, have his hands around him, keeping him safe. And it's a lost (ph) decision, you know, the husband made the decision, I just followed behind him.
COSBY (voice-over): Hamill was one of 6,000 contract workers employed by Halliburton to go to Iraq. And before he was shipped out, he says in training sessions, Halliburton minced no words in laying out the risks and showing how ugly the job could be.
T. HAMILL: They went through everything that was going on over there. They didn't hide anything from us.
COSBY: What did they tell you?
T. HAMILL: They actually tried to scare us away. I mean, they admitted some casualties, some Halliburton casualties. And they had told us about them. And they had shown us some pictures of some of the equipment that had been damaged. They didn't send us over there not knowing what we were getting into. Anybody went over there, we knew what the outcome could be. We knew that there was danger and the possibility that we may not come back alive.
COSBY: And those images he only saw in photographs soon became reality, when he arrived in embattled Baghdad September, 2003.
(on camera): When you got there to Iraq, what was it like? The wild west?
T. HAMILL: No, it was I've been in the wild west in the country. It's nothing different. We were have hostile actions against us from day one, when we got there. You know, I knew from day one, this is reality now. We're going to have to go forward with it. I made the decision to come here, and I'm going to stick with it and I'm going to stick by my God, he's going to be with me.
COSBY: But nothing could have prepared Tommy Hamill for what happened April 9, when his convoy came under a massive surprise attack and he was taken hostage. When we come back, Hamill tells us for the first time what he endured.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
T. HAMILL: I couldn't crawl because my arm, I wasn't able to pull myself, so I just started rolling.
COSBY (voice-over): Early April in Iraq was a time of escalating and intense violence, and the beginning of a new tactic of warfare against American soldiers and civilians: kidnappings and murder.
COSBY (on camera): Walk me through that day.
T. HAMILL: It was just a normal day like any other day. You know, we had our mission orders. We know where we're going. We have our briefings in the morning before we leave, and we left out that morning.
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...
This was a rare time that I watched Rita Cosby. This man is such an honest, down to earth person. It was wonderful to see that people such as he and his family exist. I was especially impressed with his patriotism. I consider him a great American!
I am glad they make people like him still.
T. HAMILL: That I'm proud that we've got a president that is willing to put all aside and stand up for what's right.
When he was interviewed earlier, by someone else, Hamill said that President Bush made him "proud to be an American".