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B-52 Crash Victim Married Just Before Leaving For Gulf

February 5, 1991

Undated (AP) _ Three weeks ago, Emily Marie Gardner was married in the Mississippi County Courthouse in Arkansas, just hours before her new husband shipped out for the Gulf War. On Saturday, she became a widow.

1st Lt. Jorge I. Arteaga, an Air Force navigator, was one of three airmen killed when a B-52 bomber crashed in the Indian Ocean, the Pentagon said Monday.

The couple had planned to marry in May, but learned last month that Arteaga was headed for the Persian Gulf. Ms. Gardner called the county courthouse near Eaker Air Force Base in Blytheville, Ark., and arranged to get married right away.

The 21-year-old bride put on a white lace dress in the car on the way to the courthouse, Eupha Sacrider, a court clerk, recalled. There weren’t any flowers. The 26-year-old groom wore a suit.

″They were sad. They were both crying, in fact. And I was too,″ Sacrider said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

The first picture of the Arteagas as husband and wife is pasted in the scrapbook of Alvin Lane, the justice of the peace in Blytheville, Ark., who performed the ceremony. Lane’s wife, Jane, opened the scrapbook for another look at the couple after learning that Arteaga was dead.

″I thought, how happy they looked to have such a sad beginning,″ Mrs. Lane said from Blytheville.

Arteaga’s father, Enrique, said from his home in La Paz, Bolivia, that his new daughter-in-law had given him the news of his son’s death. She returned to her home in Memphis, Tenn., after the wedding.

″We do believe that he was serving a just cause and he died for reasons that he believed was worth fighting for,″ Arteaga said.

The elder Arteaga lived in Trumbull, Conn., from 1983 to 1987, when he was stationed at the United Nations as a liaison to the Bolivian government. Jorge Arteaga attended Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh then, Enrique Arteaga said, and the family moved in 1987 to Bolivia.

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