Doctors who examined the second set of released American prisoners of war say some were slightly injured in allied bombing raids on Iraq and most had been "slapped around."
The 14 men and one woman were welcomed Wednesday after traveling from Baghdad to a U.S. Navy hospital ship. Two were brought from the plane on stretchers, and many were undernourished.The Americans flew to Bahrain after landing in Saudi Arabia, along with 20 other former allied prisoners. The Iraqi government, which freed 10 other allied POWs Monday, said the 35 were the last military prisoners it held.
"They looked happy to be home, happy to be in freedom," said Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, the Operation Desert Storm commander. He was in the welcoming party at the Saudi capital, Riyadh.
The 20 former POWs arrived on one of the two Red Cross planes that had taken 294 Iraqi POWs from Saudi Arabia to Baghdad, the first of more than 63,000 captured Iraqi soldiers to be released by the allies.
The two men on stretchers - Air Force Capt. William F. Andrews, 32, of Syracuse, N.Y., and Army Staff Sgt. Daniel J. Stamaris Jr., 31, of Boise, Idaho - grinned. Andrews also gave a thumb's up gesture.
Both men had leg injuries, said Col. Richard Williams, the attending physician on the trip from Baghdad.
Both arms of Army Maj. Rhonda L. Cornum were in bandages and slings, and she had injuries to her face and knee. The 36-year-old Cornum, from East Aurora, N.Y., was captured after her helicopter crashed, killing five.
Assessing the ex-prisoners' health, Williams said, "Generally, they are in fair condition. Some of them suffered malnutrition."
He said those who required medical care received adequate treatment from Iraq. One was treated by the chief of orthopedics at Baghdad's military hospital, Williams said.
He said the prisoners were "slapped around a bit" by Iraqis and said three had suffered ear perforations that had then healed.
The injuries sustained during allied bombing raids were not serious, he said, and were caused by flying debris.
Shortly before the 15 American ex-POWs arrived, a Navy psychiatrist, Cmdr. Deborah Wear, discussed her examinations of the first six freed Americans, who boarded the Mercy early Tuesday.
"They're all in very good shape right now," she said.
"They're mainly suffering from lack of sleep and getting readjusted to being able to walk free, talk to whomever they want and to be around other people and know that they're going to be able to get home."