American contractor Thomas Hamill escaped this week from the Iraqi militants who had been holding him hostage in a mud hut for nearly a month. U.S. troops said Hamill ran out of the hut as soon as he heard the sound of Army Humvees rattling by. Waving a white T-shirt, he yelled, Im an American! Im an American POW! He told soldiers he could have escaped earlierthe man guarding him was sometimes absentbut he was in the middle of the desert and would have died without water. Originally a dairy farmer, Hamill took a job driving trucks for a civilian contracting firm in Iraq last year, after he lost his farm. Hes expected to return home to Mississippi after receiving medical treatment in Germany for a minor gunshot wound.