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Freed Hostage Sees Family, Has a Steak : Doctors Say Reed Is Weak but Has No Major Health Problems

From United Press International

Freed American hostage Frank H. Reed was reunited with his family and had a beer and a medium-rare steak today, only hours after he cheerfully set foot in the West for the first time after 44 months in captivity.

The 57-year-old school director, the second hostage released from Lebanon through Syria in eight days, seemed in good spirits as he strode off a U.S. military plane at the Rhein-Main air base.

“Dr. Reed is weak and tired from his ordeal,” said a spokesman for the medical team examining Reed at a U.S. military hospital in Wiesbaden.

“He has lost significant weight and muscle mass from a lack of exercise and a marginal diet,” the spokesman said. “He otherwise feels well and is talking with his family and medical staff.”

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Reed was reunited with his Syrian-born wife, Fahimeh, and their son, Tarek, 9, at the hospital only a few hours after his arrival at the nearby U.S. Rhein-Main base.

Reed smiled, raised both hands in a V-for-victory sign, shielded his eyes from the sun and touched the ground after stepping off the C-141 Starlifter that flew him from Damascus to West Germany. Reed said he was blindfolded much of the time he was held hostage.

Looking pale and fatigued, but elated, Reed received a red-carpet welcome and a ceremonial salute by a military color guard holding aloft the American and West German flags.

Reed, dressed in a dark suit and tie and sporting a neatly trimmed beard, was taken by helicopter to the Wiesbaden medical center, where he was given a rousing welcome by patients and staff.

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A huge banner at the hospital said: “Welcome to the free world.”

“Upon arrival Dr. Reed asked for a Heineken and a large steak cooked medium-rare. Dr. Reed got what he asked for,” the spokesman said.

He said Reed had his first checkup in Damascus, which “revealed no major medical problems.” Reed was expected to remain at the medical center two to three days.

Officials said U.S. intelligence teams will debrief Reed to assess the patterns of kidnapings in the Middle East and conditions under which hostages are held.

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