Of all the stories, his stands out especially for the punishment he took and the matter-of-fact way he tells of the ordeal now.
Malcom Kalp, who had been among the most mysterious in the group of 52, was held in solitary confinement for 374 days and moved to 22 different locations. He tried to escape three times and was punched and kicked for it afterward.
"I'm just a bad luck escapee, I guess," he shrugged in a brief talk with reporters on the sidewalk outside the Wiesbaden Air Force hospital here today.
There was neither grin nor grimace when he said this with a Boston accent, or when he recounted other tales from Iran. But the hate came through.
"What's my view about them?" he said when asked how he feels about Iranians. "Buy Iraqi war bonds, that's my view."
Dressed casually in a jogging jacket and yellow gift T-shirt emblazoned with an American flag and the words "Freedom Day" beside the day Jan. 21, 1981, Kalp looked fit and trim.
He is listed by the government as having been in the embassy's commercial section. But there were gaps in the public's record of him during the past 14 1/2 months. No age was ever given. No hometown is listed in the information provided reporters here. And until shortly before the release, no picture of him had been available. Kalp's family in Fairfax County has declined to discuss him publicly.
His Iranian captors accused Kalp of spying, producing as evidence a cable from charge d'affaires Bruce Laingen, written before the seizure, which said that Kalp together with ex-hostage William Daugherty would need "the best cover we can come up with."
Singled out at the start for especially harsh treatment, Kalp brought even worse on himself through repeated escape attempts. "But in a situation like that, you've got to give it your best effort," he said. "I was mistreated before I escaped. That's why I escaped."
He tried three times. First, on Dec. 23, 1979, but the attempt was foiled nearly before it began because the guards were alerted by another escape effort earlier that same evening. In May 1980 Kalp tried to escape by using a hacksaw. On June 27, 1980, when Kalp picked a lock on a second-floor window and jumped out. He managed to get outside the building he was in, "but they picked me up again because a watchdog had alerted them."
Afterward, he said, he was choked, kicked in the head, punched in the face, beaten while handcuffed sometimes by as many as six men, and thrown against concrete walls.
Kalp stayed in 22 places ranging from a cell to a "very big room." He added: "Just solitary confinement, really, you've got yourself and nobody else. There were a lot of bad experiences. It'll all live with me."
While calling the food he ate "pretty terrible," Kalp said sardonically that at least the wormed powdered milk he was fed "wasn't too bad because you could occupy your day picking out the worms."
Of his captors, he said, "most of those people have just clinbed down out of trees. They have no concept of Western civilization, of culture."
Kalp said he knew "some day I'd get out." He described his health now as "very good." His state of mind, he said is, "good, no problem, no problem."
Appreciative of the few days of rest and reorientation provided here before returning to the United States, Kalp singled out the "terriffic" lobster-champagne dinner last night. "Can't beat Boston lobster. In fact, that's what I've been dreaming of for 444 days."
Kalp said he learned he was leaving Iran just 15 minutes before being taken to the airport. In contrast to reports by other former captives of improved treatment in the days shortly preceding their release, Kalp said his captors never "beefed us up, never gave us any clothing, never gave us any proper food, even at the very end."
Commenting on the Carter administration's policy, Kalp said he had no sharp criticism. "I think [Carter] did as much as he could do without going for an all-out war."
As for whether President Reagan should keep to the agreement signed to win the hostages' release, he said: "I'd pay them back out of a B52 bomber, that's one way I'd pay them back. I'd give them $8 billion worth of bombs. That's a decision Mr. Reagan has to make."