Richard Anderton is "terribly tired" and just wants to rest with his family, his father said Wednesday.
William Lawrence Anderton, who lives in Hurricane, Washington County, said his son is staying with the family of his wife's sister near Washington, D.C. He was reuinted with his wife, Bonnie, and daughter, Jennifer, when his plane touched down at Andrews Air Force Base on Monday.Anderton, a 42-year-old engineer who resides in Larkspur, Colo., had been working in Kuwait only a short time before Saddam Hussein's tanks rolled through that country. He and his family made their way to the American embassy on Aug. 3, the day after the invasion.
Bonnie and Jennifer were freed with a planeload of Americans brought out by Jesse Jackson in September, but Richard continued to sweat out the months in the uncomfortable U.S. embassy.
"They were guarded constantly by the Iraqi troops," said his mother, Carolyn Anderton.
Among the hardships the embassy's residents endured was a monotonous diet. Unable to get fresh food supplies because of the ring of Iraqi soldiers guarding them, they survived on canned staples the embassy had stocked.
The virtual destruction of Kuwait "was really brought home last Sunday, when we drove to the airport," Anderton told the Rocky Mountain News. "It looked like the Holocaust - trash everywhere, just piles of burning garbage in every conceivable place and the stench of garbage."
He telephoned his father and mother at their home in Hurricane shortly after he landed in Frankfurt, Germany, Sunday night.
Richard Anderton said he never wanted to see another can of tuna fish or a dish of cold rice because he had lived on those for three months.
He was in a good health and told the family he had grown a beard and ponytail. Those in the embassy were unable to shave because they were hoarding water.
The embassy was able to communicate with the outside world with a shortwave radio. After the electrical power was cut off in late August, they used a generator to power the radio.
"They were out of fuel or running out of fuel, so their correspondence outside was very very limited, and it was repetitious," she said. They were able to send send out brief messages giving their condition and saying, "Get us out of here."
Asked what her reaction was when she got the good news, she said, "Well, what would any mother's reaction be? We were all absolutely thrilled to death. We were really under a terrific strain for several months."
"I was delighted," said William Anderton. "I had been very concerned about not his physical, but his emotional and mental condition, and he was excellent.
"He has a kind of a wry sense of humor, and we exchanged a few jokes on the thing . . . I'm sure he came through this experience about as well as you can expect."
While his son was in the embassy, a few coded messages could be passed from the family and back from him. In those, "we exchanged prayers," William Anderton said.