SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador -- Leftist guerrillas firing on a government helicopter wounded an American Green Beret sergeant, the first casualty among the 37 American military advisers stationed in El Salvador, U.S. officials said Thursday.
A Salvadoran machine gunner also was wounded but the nature of his wounds was not disclosed.
Sgt. Jay T. Stanley, a U.S. Green Beret, was shot Wednesday while flying in a Salvadoran-piloted helicopter over the nation's most important bridge, U.S. Embassy Spokesman Donald Hamilton said.
Guerrillas opened fire on the helicopter as it swooped down over the Cuscatlan Bridge on the Pan American Highway 45 miles east of San Salvador, the only road link open between the capital and eastern El Salvador, Hamilton said.
Stanley was in 'good condition' at the Military Hospital in San Salvador with a gunshot wound in his left leg, U.S. Army and Embassy spokesmen said. They said he was expected to be released in about two weeks.
Stanley refused to talk to reporters who visited his room in the officers ward, except to say he felt 'pretty good.'
'Frankly, I don't want to talk about it,' said the ruddy-cheeked Stanley.
It was the first time rebels wounded an American military adviser since U.S. 'trainers' came to El Salvador two years ago to teach counter-insurgency tactics to Salvadoran troops.
Hamilton said Stanley was on a mission to check a communications station that was having trouble and was shot after the problem was resolved and the helicopter was flying back to the capital.
'The Salvadoran pilot looked off to his left up the highway on the Usulutan (province) side and saw a roadblock or saw a large number of vehicles stopped,' said an Army officer of the U.S. Embassy's military mission.
'He wasn't sure it was a roadblock, so he does one of these (making a swooping downward hand motion) to check it out and they were greeted with ground fire. He (Stanley) took a round through his leg.
'The pilot at this point decided this was not the place to be checking out roadblocks, turned around and headed back to (San) Salvador,' the officer said.
The U.S.-supplied UH-1H 'Huey' helicopter Stanley was aboard 'took some hits,' the officer said. The helicopter was armed with two M-60 machine guns mounted in the doors but it was not clear if they were fired at the rebels.
American officials stressed the Salvadoran pilot decided on his own to fly toward the guerrillas, who on Tuesday carried out a similar raid in the same vicinity and shutdown traffic for two hours.
Stanley, one of 37 U.S. advisers currently stationed in El Salvador, was wounded by a 7.62 mm bullet fired from either a West German-made G-3 or a Belgian FAL automatic rifle, Hamilton said.
U.S. law requires that no more than 55 U.S. military advisers be in El Salvador at a time. They are under orders to avoid combat zones and not to carry weapons in the field -- except handguns for personal protection.
'Of course there was combat taking place below the helicopter when the incident tood place. That is when people are shooting at you,' Hamilton said, but he added it was thought Stanley's mission would be safe because the nearest fighting was several miles away around the city of Berlin.
The Salvadoran army Thursday moved back into the city of Berlin, 50 miles east of San Salvador. The city was abandoned by guerrillas who proclaimed on their clandestine radio station that 'all military and political objectives' of their takeover had been accomplished.
The capture of Berlin in two days of heavy combat had drawn several hundred soldiers away from a 6,000-man army sweep on guerrilla positions in northeastern Morazan province, officers said.
About 2,000 soldiers were moved into the area around Berlin to drive off guerrillas who control the western half of Usulutan province, El Salvador's richest farming region, officers said.