At the beginning of this month (4 February), a private in the Khmer Republic Army, 21-year-old Pok Sarim, was engaged in close combat along the Mekong River, six miles (10 kilometres) from the capital, Phnom Penh.
SV & CU INT Wounded soldier in bed with wife at his side (3 shots)
SV EXT Soldiers preparing bunker on parads ground
CU Officers look at X-ray showing grenade lodged in patient's cheek (2 shots)
SV Doctors arrive wearing protective clothing & helmets
SV PAN Patient brought to bunker on stretcher
CU Medical equipment arrives
CU Doctors prepare for surgery
SV Antiseptic dabbed on patient
CU Doctor signals cameraman away
SV Operation in progress in bunker (2 shots)
LV People around bunker
CU Extracted grenade
SV PAN Patient carried to waiting ambulance
Initials BB/0252 CH/MR/BB/0306
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Background: At the beginning of this month (4 February), a private in the Khmer Republic Army, 21-year-old Pok Sarim, was engaged in close combat along the Mekong River, six miles (10 kilometres) from the capital, Phnom Penh. After standing and hurling a hand grenade at enemy forces, barely 15 years (metres) away, he was struck by an M79 grenade fired from a hand-held launcher. The grenade penetrated his cheek and lodged against his jawbone.
On Monday (11 February), on the windswept parade ground in the grounds of a military hospital in Phnom Penh, military doctors attempted to remove the unexploded grenade. The medical team -- all volunteers - was led by Dr. Khun son Soeng, chief of the largest military hospital in the area. Beneath their surgical gowns the doctors wore flak-jackets. Their heads were shielded by steel helmets.
A special sand-bag bunker was built on the parade ground as the patient--a three-year veteran in the army -- lay on a bed, his pregnant wife at his side, in a nearby building.
After the lengthy preparations, the operation was almost anti-climactic. It was oil over in a few minutes. Pok Sarim is one of the few lucky combatants in the continuing war.