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June 8, 1986 7:14 PM

Idealism drew him into contra struggle

Robert Owen is a 1980s version of the all-American boy -- adventurous, athletic, bright and patriotic. Those who know him say the 32-year-old, 6-foot, 4-inch Owen is a soft-spoken but tough-minded man driven by intense idealism to improve the world, defend the United States and fight communism. Yet Owen's life also has been undergirded by trauma and, recently, controversy and mystery.

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