Freed hostage Captain Phillips is back home in Vermont

04/17/09 6:29PM By Ross Sneyd
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AP Photo/Toby Talbot
Captain Richard Phillips with his family at Burlington International Airport

(Phillips) "Indescribable... Indescribable ... I'm not the hero, the military is.''

(Host) Captain Richard Phillips, home in Vermont after a high seas ordeal as a hostage to Somali pirates.

VPRs Ross Sneyd was at the airport for the arrival:

(Sneyd) Captain Phillips seemed a bit overwhelmed by the reception he and his family has gotten since he was taken captive ten days ago.

(Phillips) "I can't believe this. I'm not a hero. It just floors me about everything I've read and shown the support that you've done.''

(Sneyd) Phillips' face is on the cover of People magazine. A couple dozen media crews were lined up to capture his reunion live.

And a crowd of a couple of dozen Vermonters showed up at the Burlington airport to cheer when Phillips returned.

He'd spent 18-and-a-half hours returning from Kenya, where a U.S. Navy ship took him after Navy SEALS sharpshooters freed him from captivity.

It was those members of the military that Phillips said should be getting all of the attention. Three SEALS shot and killed the three pirates holding Phillips in the lifeboat of his merchant container ship.

(Phillips) "The first people I want to thank are the SEALS. They're the superheroes. They're the titans. They're impossible men doing an impossible job. And they did the impossible with me. And I just want to let you know they are out there, they're everyday people we will not recognize and I will not divulge but they did an excellent job and they saved me. They're at the point of the sword every day doing an impossible job.''

(Sneyd) Phillips' wife Andrea has said she felt a bit like a hostage herself because the media has been camped outside the family's Underhill home.

But she says she's relieved to have her husband home.

(Andrea Phillips) "I have always been proud to call myself an American. Today, I'm even prouder.''

(Sneyd) The Phillips headed home to a meal of chicken pot pie prepared by a friend of the family.

They headed home to Underhill with a state police escort.

For VPR News, I'm Ross Sneyd.

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