The Galveston Daily News from Galveston, Texas on October 15, 1993 · Page 3
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The Galveston Daily News from Galveston, Texas · Page 3

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Galveston, Texas
Issue Date:
Friday, October 15, 1993
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Page 3
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Freed pilot broken but not beaten; he sheds tears of joy Associated Press MOGADISHU, Somalia — Michael Durant has a broken back, a broken leg and a broken cheekbone. But he shed tears of joy, not pain, as he tasted his first moments of freedom Thursday after 11 days in captivity. The U.S. Army pilot's ordeal ended almost as quickly as it began Oct. 3, when a rocket-propelled grenade blasted the tail off his helicopter during a day of horror that killed 18 Americans wounded more than 70. Fellow soldiers cheered and flashed thumbs-up signs after Durant was brought to the United Nations compound for treatment of his battered body. At the 46th U.S. Army Field Hospital, officers wept when he was carried in. The 32-year-old Durant underwent a checkup that detailed his injuries. Then came a call to his wife Lorrie at Fort Campbell, Ky., who will be flying to meet him when he is airlifted Friday to Landstuhl, Germany, for further treatment. It was graphic television footage of Durant's frightened, injured face and triumphant Somali's dragging an American soldier's body through the streets of Mogadishu that led Clinton to reassess U.S. involvement in the United Nations' peacekeeping mission in the East African nation. Capping a week of rumors that Durant would be freed, warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid came out of hiding for the first time in four months to hold a news conference Thursday morning, saying the release was imminent. The Red Cross was given the same message from representatives of Aidid's faction which had been holding Durant and Nigerian Trooper Uznar Shantali, 22. They escorted a six-vehicle convoy to a nondescript walled compound. Two Red Cross delegates, accompanied by a Swiss surgeon and mediators from Ethiopia and Eritrea went inside. Durant and Shantali were there, spruced up as much as possible. Shantali, dressed in new clothes and having been allowed to bathe for the first time since his capture Sept. 5, limped out using a cane and leaning on a Red Cross worker. He looked relatively fit, his left ankle apparently broken. "They told him he was going to be a free man today," U.S. Army Sgt 1st Class Dawn Kilpatrick said of Shantali. "He said he didn't want to get his hopes up." Local Somali workers gingerly carried Durant out on a stretcher, a clean flowered sheet over his splinted leg. His teeth clinched against the pain, he clutched a note from his wife and parents the Red Cross had relayed just before his release. He made no comment and declined to speak to reporters. Then came the agonizing trip in the back of a four-wheel-drive vehicle, bouncing along the pot-holed . AP This photo taken from a television broadcast of Oct. 4 Is the Image the world had of U.S. Army helicopter pilot Michael Durant for the past 11 days. streets to the U.N. compound. Durant declined pain medication before the trip, but asked for it after reaching the field hospital. Dr. John Holcomb, who examined Durant, said the pilot appeared to have been treated fairly well by his captors. He said Durant had developed diarrhea a few days earlier from drinking local milk. Holcomb said most of Durant's injuries probably were sustained during the helicopter crash, although Durant said in an interview while he was in captivity that he had been badly beaten by a crowd and stripped naked after his capture. "Mike is fine, basically," Holcomb said, adding that Durant "cried a little bit — tears of joy." Although the worst appeared to be over, Durant's pain isn't. Since his broken leg was not set properly, it will have to be redone. Still, Holcomb said there were no signs of infection or neurological damage from the back injury. "I think hell make a full recovery," Holcomb said. FRIDAY MORNING, OCTOBER 15,1993 THE GALVESTON DAILY NEWS 3-A Wife: 'Nobody could be happier than me' Associated Press CLAKKSVILLE, Tenn. — The call came in from the 46th U.S. Army Field Hospital in Mogadishu, and it made everything better. For 11 long days, Lorrie Durant had waited to hear her husband's voice. "Nobody could be happier than me," she said outside her home Thursday, her 14-month-old son nestled in her arms. Army helicopter pilot Mike Durant had been freed in Somalia and, at around 4 a.m., the couple talked by telephone. At Durant's home base in nearby Fort Campbell and in ^Berlin, his hometown in northern New Hampshire, strained waiting turned to whoops of rejoicing. Church bells rang out, car horns honked and a wild welcome-home bash was being put together in Berlin, where yellow ribbons were tied to everything in sight — light poles, City Hall, houses, war monuments, car antennas. AP Lorrie Durant holds her 14- month-old son Joey as she leaves her home In Clarksvllle, Tenn., Thursday. Her husband, U.S. Army helicopter pilot Michael Duram, was freed in Mogadishu, Somalia, Thursday by forces of warlord Mohamed Farrah Aid Id. He had been held for 11 days. "New Things Are Going On at Turtle Lake Apts 740-1404 In Loving Memory Of JOSEPH T. WILLIAMS To my loved ones, to those who J love and those who love me: For those who came and those who tried to make it, but they could not seem to make it; I jusi wanted to say I'm very grateful you honor me on the day I died! I'm very happy with the family God gave me. Don't bother crying for me, as long as you think of me in your heart I will be all right Tell everyone Hi for me and when I meet you in heaven I will say welcome home at last. Bye. Love, Joseph T. Williams. Sadly missed by wife, stepdaughter, stepsister, stepbrother, step nephew, step niece, and a son Adrian Williams and stepson Byron Holt. QPERMANENTLIFE QTERMLlFEDIRA's HENRY FREUDENBURG INSURANCE AGENCY, INC. 6202 Ave. S n 744-7111 Star* Lita Insurant I Home Otl-c* Bloonnngicn. DENTAL —*|» PLAN ~ Special croup Rates Available $7/MONTH CALL 740-3601 TODAY! Coffee By The Pound Weekly specials Amarctto (decaf) Chocolate Rasberry TAKE HOME ABAG TODAY COFFEE WAREHOUSE Gifts»Candies • Fresh Beans 10122nd»Easy Access«762-9301 ' OPEN 7 DAYS VALUE is always in style! Cozy fleece lounge sets by I. Appel 1 Great for running weekend errands • Perfect for relaxing at home • Machine washable acrylic knit « Soft fleece inside • Brilliant color combinations " Accented with metallic gold " Available in Loungewear » Sizes s-m-l, 48.00 City workers took down the sign calling for "Support & Prayers for Mike Durant... Somalia POW" and replaced it with a newly painted one: "Hooray! Mike is Free." "Everyone's been praying for Mike and it worked," said his mother, Louise. Lorrie Durant, 27, an elementary school teacher, described her husband's condition as "wonderful." She planned to meet him when he is airlifted today to Landstuhl, Germany, for further treatment. President CHnton said he spoke Thursday morning with Mrs. Durant "to congratulate her and to wish her well. Obviously, she is very happy." The soldier's parents, who have been staying with their daughter-in-law in Tennessee, also spoke to their son by phone. "He's fine. He sounds great. He had his sense of humor and he can't wait to see Joey (his son)," said Durant's mother, Louise. "Damn it feels good for this to be over," said his father, Leon. FREE BATTERY ELIMINATOR AND LEATHER CASE MOTOROLA HAND HELD 8000 Battery Eliminator and Leather Case CELLULARONE. 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