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Page last updated at 12:26 GMT, Thursday, 8 May 2008 13:26 UK

Gun battle message shocks parents

A US soldier in Afghanistan
The US has about 17,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan

A US couple checking their answering machine heard a frightening three-minute recording of their son caught in a battle in Afghanistan.

Stephen Phillips, 22, was fighting insurgents when his mobile phone was pressed, causing it to dial his parents' number in Otis, Oregon.

Most of the sounds were gunfire, but swearing and shouts of "more ammo!" and "incoming!" could also be heard.

Nobody was wounded or killed in Mr Phillips' unit during the battle.

He is serving with the Army 546th MP Company 3rd Platoon and has been in Afghanistan for about a year.

The recording has since been posted on the video-sharing website YouTube, where it has been listened to more than 200,000 times.

'Embarrassed'

Mr Phillips had spoken to his parents on his mobile phone a few hours before the battle, and amid the confusion of the fight, he somehow hit the redial button.

His mother, Sandie Petee, and her husband, Jeff, heard the message after returning home from shopping.

"His friend died a year ago in Iraq and I'm thinking, 'Oh my God, this may be the last time I hear my son's voice on the phone'," Mrs Petee said.

Mr Petee said: "It's something a parent really doesn't want to hear. It's a heck of a message to get from your son in Afghanistan."

The couple frantically tried to contact Mr Phillips, and eventually reached him a few hours later.

When he was played back the message, he said was embarrassed by all the swearing.

"He said, 'Don't let Grandma hear it'," Mrs Petee said.


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