It was mid-March as George and his partner flew to Luang Prabang by a Dakota C-47 (“Gooney Bird”) of Air Laos. They were greeted warmly and with military honors by the Commander of the 1st Military region and by an honor guard. George was most impressed. He had never been the participant of a welcoming honor guard. It was a bit embarrassing, since the resident CIA chief had instructed that George and his partner “fly under the radar” with no pomp or special attention. However, the small military band attempted to play the American national anthem, and there was definitely special special attention. George could only hope that the wrong people weren’t watching.
The visit was a great success, as George and his partner were the first representatives of a U.S. government agency to visit the military headquarters of this Laotian military region. The Commander, a lieutenant colonel and younger brother of the Chief of Staff in Vientiane, went all out to present his command in the best possible light.
George and his partner were taken to the headquarters building, where they received a thorough briefing on the military and political situation in and around Luang Prabang Province, covering in particular a detailed situation map along the provincial and political borders with the Pathet Lao controlled provinces of Phong Saly and Sam Neua.
I write of these early military experiences of George in my book: The Colonel George Trofimoff Story, the tale of America’s highest ranking military officer convicted of spying.