Electronic copy of article provided by Leslie Hines

DUC PHO, Vietnam (IO) — Spec. 4 Victor M. Jamoom, a team leader in the 2nd Platoon, D Co., 3d Bn., 1st Inf., 11th Light Inf. Brigade, figures he's lucky to be alive. At least he won't challenge hand grenades with a .45 caliber pistol again.

Jamoom and the 2nd Platoon were on a search and clear operation about 15 miles northeast of here in the southern I Corps area, when 2nd Squad leader S. Sgt. Pinky McNeely spotted a man and woman running from the advancing troops.

They lost the fleeing VC in a swamp, but while searching the area came across a Vietnamese hut and bunker. The hut was empty, but the bunker had a false wall which opened into a forked tunnel.

Jamoom grabbed a flashlight and a .45 pistol and started into the tunnel. The hole was so small he had to shed his helmet to squeeze into the entrance. About half way through the tunnel he found some clothes and searched them for weapons or documents, but found none.

"I continued into the tunnel where the bunker section led off to the right," Jamoom said. "As I shined the light into the right section I saw a man just as he threw a hand grenade at me.

"I fired a shot at him but missed, and he threw another grenade at me. As I fired a second shot I remembered that I only had about two seconds before that first grenade went off. When I started backtracking I recall saying to myself, "Don't stop! Make it to the top.

"I think that pile of clothes might have saved me," Jamoom said. "There wasn't room to turn around in the passage, and I only got a few feet out when the grenade went off." With shrapnel whizzing around him, Jamoom emerged from the tunnel without a scratch.

When other members of the platoon began digging into the chamber, they found that Jamoom hadn't missed with his second shot. They also found the second grenade, which hadn't gone off.