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Notebook shields soldier from Iraqi bullet

London, Dec. 9: A British patrol commander described yesterday how a bullet lodged in a notebook in his chest pocket when his unit came under enemy gunfire during the conflict in Iraq.

Staff Sergeant Mark Heley, 35, who has been awarded the Military Cross for his gallantry, said the bullet became embedded in the notebook, which had a pistol behind it in a separate pocket.

ďA combination of the notebook and the pistol probably saved my life,Ē said the father of three, who was serving as patrol commander in the Reconnaissance Troop of 23 Engineer Regiment (Air Assault).

Heley, from Cirencester, Gloucester, said he didnít discover the AK-47 round until the following day.

His nine-man unit had been given the task of providing intelligence for 16 Air Assault Brigade.

They were sent in ahead of the main force to clear a runway at an airbase at Sukkar, central Iraq, of missiles and bombs so paratroopers could land.

They became cut off behind enemy lines and were ambushed, coming under a barrage of gunfire and rockets.

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