George Trofimoff’s first overseas assignment in Army Intelligence was by transport plane to Frankfurt, Germany. The interrogation team was told they would be interrogating Soviet and East German Army deserters for “some other agency.” They were given a civilian clothing allowance and taken to the Main Post Exchange, where they were able to purchase a civilian wardrobe. From that moment on, the team was in the so-called civilian clothing status and were obligated to wear civilian clothing on and off duty at all times, even when eating in the mess hall. They were issued special ID cards, which identified them as members of the US Army authorized to wear civilian clothing outside the premises of the military installation.
It was December 1949, and, although the team spoke to some East German soldiers, the interest was in what Soviet Occupation Forces were up to. East German soldiers were afraid to talk about the Soviets even as they were escaping the Iron Curtain. Nevertheless, much time was spent interrogating deserters from the Soviet Army. To the team, it seemed there was a surprising number of Soviets, even some field-grade officers.
I write of George Trofimoff’s intelligence experiences in my book: Observer: The Colonel George Trofimoff Story, the tale of America’s highest ranking military officer convicted of spying.
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