Mercenaries of Panama


This is the story of a Vietnam veteran that was shot down over North Vietnam in 1971 and spent two years in the Hanoi Hilton. When he was released in 1973, he came home to find his fiancée had married someone else. 

Despondent and depressed, he requested a discharge from the Air Force in an attempt to set a course for his future. He had barely graduated from college, thus he was shutout of graduate school. His undergraduate degree was in history. The only job he ever had was flying A-7 jets off an aircraft carrier. For a year, he bummed around and the lack of activity exhausted him. In an attempt to clear his mind, he decided to take a cruise. One evening, while at the rail looking at the ocean, he meets Antoinette. Antoinette turned out to be a recruiter for an organization called the “Company.” The “Company” is made up of mercenaries. They are commissioned to do missions that are legally gray for governments and individuals.

In addition to the various missions that he flies for the “Company,” he not only falls in love with Antoinette (who together they have and raise a child), but with Dana, a young librarian. He manages the two relationships successfully throughout most of his adult life. His son, Frank, Jr. is recruited to the “Company” out of college. He loses his life in the line of duty. 

 Near the end of the central characters story, he loses both of his women, Antoinette to terminal cancer and Dana to a hit and run auto accident. The central character has several other affairs with women of interest.

The majority of the action takes place from Panama, the location of the “Companies” compound and training facilities. Many of the missions are to Nicaragua, Colombia and other Central American countries. Several missions are in the Mid East. The novel focuses on the professional military for hire that work for money rather than for country. In the end, the central character learns that there is no life after retirement if you were employed by the “Company.”