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Iran Hostage tells his story to group in Lawton

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Lawton, Okla__Rick Kupke was the last of the fifty-two Americans to be taken hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Iran back in 1979, and was held captive for 444 days.  Today, Kupke shared his story with a group in Lawton. He was on assignment at the embassy in Tehran when hundreds of students who supported the Iranian revolution stormed the building.   Kupke was a prisoner, beaten and abused for 444 days--but lived to tell his incredible story-and today, he told it to a group at Lawton's center for creative living.

Kupke was 33-years-old when he was taken hostage. He talked about the day he was told they wouldn't be rescued anytime soon…

"Washington told us while I still had a phone line open that we were totally on our own out in Tehran. We had no assets available. Our rescue attempt came months later," said Kupke.  

Eight Americans attempted to rescue the hostages in April of 1980 but were killed.
But, through 444 days of being beaten and tortured by Iranians and even blindfolded and subjected to mock executions he didn't give up.  Kupke wasn't even supposed to be in Tehran--he was already on a mission in the Sinai Desert when his roommate got the assignment in Iran.  But Kupke volunteered to take his place because his roommate had a wife and small children.  

"During the whole 444 days, they told us all the time, you're going to be released in the next few days," said Kupke.  

Kupke says when they were actually released they didn't believe it was actually true until the plane took off. Kupke says unlike some of the others, he came home mentally and physically.  

"I always told myself, if I ever get out of here I don't need to carry this with me for the rest of my life," said Kupke.  

Kupke worked for the U.S. Department of State and for his service  received the Award of Valor from the Secretary of State and President Ronald Reagan formalized his commission as a Foreign Service officer.  


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