As he lay on the ground wounded, Spc. Shawn Austin wondered whether he would live.

"I was thinking, `Am I going to die? What's going on? Is my arm still there?' " he said Friday from his hospital bed in Bosnia.Austin, 21, is the second soldier in the nearly 20,000-member American peacekeeping force in Bosnia to be wounded by hostile fire. He was hit just below the left shoulder by a civilian he thinks was probably a looter.

"When I saw the figure standing there, I kind of just froze," Austin recalled. "He fired once. He hit me. I kind of fell to the ground and I didn't really feel nothing at first because there was so much shock."

Doctors told him his wound was not serious and he would be released from the military hospital near U.S. headquarters here within 48 hours.

"Thank God somebody was up there watching out for me," Austin said.

The shooting occurred at 1:45 a.m. (5:45 p.m. MST Thursday), while Austin was on patrol at Camp Linda, in Bosnian government-held territory near Olovo, 40 miles south of Tuzla.

"Me and another buddy from my platoon were roving guards, just to walk around and check things out," Austin recalled. "We were near the outer perimeter when I thought I saw somebody looking behind a wood pile."

They decided to investigate. Austin went around one side of the house and his friend went around the other side. Austin used his night vision goggles to peer around, but saw nothing.

"I was getting ready to turn back," he said, "when I heard a noise. I turned around and there was a guy standing there. I saw a flash and I was hit." Austin fired in his direction, but the gunman got away.

Austin was visited by Maj. Gen. William L. Nash, the commander of U.S. forces who quipped, "I was just down there the other day and you guys were staying out of trouble. I left for a little bit and now you get yourself in a fight last night."

Austin replied: "Blame it on my account. He was probably just a looter just trying to sort through things."