Nathaniel Howell football team

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CHARLOTTESVILLE (WINA) - University of Virginia professor emeritus Wilson Nathaniel “Nat” Howell has passed away at the age of 81. Nat was a frequent guest about world affairs on WINA, and was most noted as being the United States Ambassador to Kuwait when Saddam Hussein's Iraq invaded and temporarily seized the small nation in 1990. Howell was assigned to many diplomatic posts through his career under various Presidents. But in the summer of 1990, he found himself in one of the world's hotspots.

Howell was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the Kuwaiti ambassadorship in 1987, a post he served into George HW Bush’s administration through 1991. In August 1990, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein invaded his smaller neighbor, citing a dubious historical perspective. Saddam announced the U.S. Embassy closed, trapping Howell and his diplomatic team there. The Americans lived under siege for four months until Saddam suddenly released in mid-December. He often shared that they all ate a lot of tuna fish, which was about the only thing available to them at the time. He said that pretty much fulfilled his desire for tuna for the rest of his life.

He joined the UVa faculty in 1992 before retiring as the John Minor Maury Jr. Professor of Public Affairs more than 5 years ago.

Howell grew up in Portsmouth and graduated from Churchland High School before attending UVa as an undergrad. He achieved his B.S. and PhD from the University. He died Thursday with arrangements being made by Teague Funeral Service.