The US Army recruiting office in Hartford provided young George Trofimoff with his enlistment and reporting documents for Fort Ord in California, travel tickets, meal tickets, and a per diem travel pay. He was also told that he could get an advance in pay if needed, but he declined the offer because he had about $50 which he had saved over the last six months working at the Hartford Hospital.
George immediately went to the railroad station to inquire about his trip to San Francisco. He was excited! He couldn’t believe that the Army was going to send him all the way across the nation for training. He had assumed that he would be somewhere around Hartford, but now, he was going to get to see the USA.
The ticket clerk took his travel voucher and proceeded to tell George that he had an upper bunk in the Pullman car on the train leaving for Chicago the next evening. He was told to change railroad stations in Chicago to take another train from there to San Francisco. His Chicago train would arrive the afternoon following, but his San Francisco leg would take four days and five nights, initially arriving in Oakland, then crossing the bay bridge to the Embarcadero.
Returning to the YMCA to pay his last bill, George said goodbye to the friends he had made, and then off to a tearful goodbye with Uncle Paul and Aunt Libby. In the years to come, he would return occasionally to Sunset Farms when on leave, but he would never forget the generosity of the Friends nor the idyllic days of ice skating on the pond in front of Uncle Paul and Aunt Libby’s home. It was the end of a period in young George Trofimoff’s life.
I write of George’s life experiences and the quandary of the trial that destroyed his life in my book: Observer: The Colonel George Trofimoff Story, the tale of America’s highest ranked military officer convicted of spying.