When the 12 young footballers and their coach were found, four Navy SEALs offered to stay with them, even if that meant weeks or months underground.
One of those SEALs, who is also a doctor, Lieutenant Colonel Pak Laharachun, said he was impressed by their positivity, discipline and tenacity, saying every day the boys used rocks to try to dig their way out, tunnelling up to five metres.
He also described the assistant coach as a selfless man, who only ate after the boys, aged 11 to 16, were full.
A senior Thai health official has previously said the boys and their football coach lost an average of two kilograms during their 17-day ordeal.
Lieutenant Colonel Laharachun has met with the boys in hospital.
Photos he posted on social media show him hugging them and the group posing and giving the thumbs up.