Advertisement

Steak, Beer and Family Greet Ex-Hostage Reed : Freedom: Doctors who examined American in West Germany report no major medical problems.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A little unsteady on his feet after 43 months as a blindfolded hostage in Lebanon but game enough to order a steak and a beer, American Frank H. Reed was reunited with his wife and 9-year-old son here on a brilliantly sunny first day of May.

Doctors at the U.S. Air Force hospital in Wiesbaden, where Reed will stay until he is considered physically fit enough to return to the United States, said he has suffered significant weight and muscle loss during his captivity.

However, they said a preliminary examination revealed “no major medical problems.”

“He otherwise feels well and is talking with family and medical staff,” a statement from the U.S. military hospital reported. “Upon arrival, Dr. Reed asked for a Heineken and a large steak, cooked medium rare. Dr. Reed got what he asked for.”

Advertisement

Further medical tests await Reed, as well as a debriefing by a hostage reception team sent from Washington and interested in finding out what he knows about the remaining foreign hostages held in Lebanon, including six Americans.

The former captive has indicated that he was held with other hostages but has not publicly elaborated. According to his daughter by a first marriage, Marilyn Langston, 33, Reed told her in a telephone conversation Tuesday that he had been separated from fellow American hostages Terry A. Anderson and Thomas Sutherland only about a year ago.

“He said he had been with them, but that he hadn’t seen Terry Anderson or Mr. Sutherland for about a year,” the Associated Press reported Langston as saying from Malden, Mass., Reed’s hometown. “He was disturbed that they weren’t out. He thought for sure they would have been released.”

Anderson, chief Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press, was abducted in Beirut on March 16, 1985, and is the foreign hostage who has been held the longest in Lebanon. Sutherland, dean of agriculture at the American University of Beirut, was kidnaped June 9, 1985.

Advertisement

Reed was abducted Sept. 9, 1986. It had been reported that he had been on the way to a game of golf, but at a press conference Monday in Damascus, Syria, the 57-year-old educator said he had actually been on his way to work at the Lebanese International School, where he was headmaster.

The wear of his 3 1/2 years in captivity was obvious as Reed first stepped hesitantly from the U.S. military C-141 transport plane onto the tarmac of the Rhein-Main Air Base in Frankfurt, West Germany.

As military personnel and welcoming American diplomats cheered, Reed several times raised his arms in a victory sign and blew kisses to the crowd. At one point, he also touched his hand to his lips and then pressed it on the tarmac of the U.S. military airfield.

His thin body appeared lost in the navy-blue, double-breasted suit he wore for the arrival. Like the hostages who had been released from Lebanese captivity, he appeared unaccustomed to walking more than a few feet. At one point he leaned on the arm of an escort for support. But seeing the celebrating crowd that awaited him on the traditionally festive European holiday appeared to lift his spirits. Several times he broke into a broad smile.

Advertisement

He was taken by helicopter to the 7100th Combat Support Wing Hospital in Wiesbaden, the standard medical way station for American citizens who have been victims of hijackings or abductions in the Middle East.

Banners draped over the hospital balconies proclaimed, “Welcome Back to the Free World” and “Welcome Home, Mr. Reed.”

Two hours later, Reed was joined at the hospital by his Syrian-born wife, Fahima (Fifi) Reed, 39, and their son, Tarek.

The reunion somewhere inside the horseshoe-shaped main wing of the hospital took place away from public view. Reed told doctors he was not up to meeting reporters after his long journey, which included a three-hour drive from Beirut to Damascus, the press conference under glaring lights in the Syrian capital and a five-hour flight to Frankfurt.

Advertisement


Advertisement
Advertisement