Former US Marine Trevor Reed touches down at JBSA-Lackland following Russia imprisonment

Reed is on the final part of his trip home

Texan and former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed is back in the United States after a nearly three-year imprisonment in Russia.

WASHINGTON – Texan and former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed is back in the United States after a nearly three-year imprisonment in Russia.

Reed touched down at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland just before 12:30 a.m. Thursday. Reed, who was only passing through San Antonio, is on the final part of his trip home. His destination was not immediately clear.

His parents, who live in North Texas, were at Lackland to greet their son.

His release was part of a prisoner swap that came as a surprise to many, as Russia and the United States have carried out an unexpected prisoner exchange in a time of high tensions.

The deal involving Reed would have been a notable diplomatic maneuver even in times of peace but it was all the more surprising because it was done as Russia’s war with Ukraine has driven relations with the U.S. to their lowest point in decades.

On the other end of the swap was Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot who’d been serving a 20-year federal sentence for conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the U.S.

Even as the Biden administration trumpeted the swap, it made clear the resolution did not herald a broader breakthrough between the countries. Russian forces remain determined in their assault on Ukraine, the U.S. and Western allies continue to impose punishing sanctions and other Americans, including WNBA star Brittney Griner and Michigan corporate security executive Paul Whelan, still remain jailed in Russia.

The swap, the culmination of longstanding requests by both countries as well as private diplomatic wrangling, took place in Turkey when “the two planes pulled up side by side, essentially, and then they got out,” said Reed's father, Joey.

“I think it’s going to really hit home for him and for us when we finally get to see him and touch him,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Reed, a 30-year-old former Marine from Texas, was arrested in the summer of 2019 after Russian authorities said he assaulted an officer while being driven by police to a police station following a night of heavy drinking. He was later sentenced to nine years in prison, though the U.S. government has described him as unjustly detained and pressed for his release while his family has asserted his innocence and expressed concerns about his deteriorating health — which included coughing up blood and a hunger strike.

Even on Wednesday, his parents' joy was mitigated by the concern they said they felt about his physical appearance. They were struck by his unsteady gait and how thin he looked as TV footage captured him walking, flanked by guards, from a van to the jet.

“He just didn’t sound like himself,” said Reed's mother, Paula, recounting their brief phone conversation while he was on the plane. “We just asked him how he was doing and he said, ‘I’m fine.’ But he always says that even when he isn’t. And he just didn’t sound like his normal self.”

Reed traveled back to the U.S. with Roger Cartsens, the U.S. government’s special presidential envoy for hostage affairs.

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