Missing in Actionon September 14, 2011 at 7:32 am
As a combat correspondent stringing for magazines and newspapers, I slipped in and out of Latin America and Asia during the 1980s, chasing wars. I was on my second wife at the time; the first took off because I was a cop. “You mean you can kill a man and it doesn’t bother you?” she had exclaimed, appalled after I shot a bad guy in a gunfight. Now I was a journalist and the second wife was the nervous sort.
In El Salvador, a colonel named Ricardo Cienfuegos was head of an entity called COPRFA, a Spanish acronym which roughly stands for “military public relations.” Cienfuegos and I were friends. Whenever I was in-country, he and I often played tennis together.
One afternoon, local communist guerrillas assassinated him on the tennis court. The assistant press attaché at the America Embassy had previously worked for the Tulsa Tribune, for whose editor, Windsor Ridenour, I sometimes wrote pieces on the wars. Hearing of the assassination and knowing that I had arrived a day or so before in San Salvador, the attaché called Windsor.
“We think the insurrectionists may have seized Sasser when they killed Cienfuegos,” he reported.
Windsor contacted my wife. “Have you heard from Chuck?”
Did I mention she was the nervous sort. “No! Why?”
Actually, I was up in the Chalatanango working with the Salvadoran Fourth Brigade, getting shot at and chasing commies. I didn’t know I was missing until I came back out of the boonies somewhat later, by which time my poor second wife was having a nervous breakdown.
Did I mention she was the nervous sort?
Did I mention she is my second ex-wife?