Recovering took two months of medical treatment and rest after being carried out of the northernmost Montagnard village on the Chinese/Laotian border in the province of Phong Sally. As soon as George was able, he was assigned to take Laotian field grade officers to the Philippines for training.
This was 1957, and there were some 25,000 Communists hiding in the jungles. Most of their terrorist activity was on the island of Mindanao. George, with the cooperation of the Philippine army, brought the Laotian officers to the areas of activity to familiarize them with how to fight in island jungle warfare against the Communist activity, which could be adapted to border fighting in the jungles of Laos.
George led several of these trips for Laotian army officers. Upon return to Vientiane and after briefing his boss and other interested persons, he was informed that future trips would have to be made secretly and in the cloak of darkness. He was cautioned that he might encounter unwanted observers. There was internal political turmoil in the Laotian government and international resistance to rearmament.
While George had been in the Philippines with Laotian army officers, Prince Souvanna Phouma formed a coalition government with Prince Souphanouvong and reunited the country under the Royal Lao Government administration. Souphanouvong requested the countries that participated in the Geneva Conference, which was held after the war with France ended in 1954, intensify the observation of its commission, the International Control Commission (ICC). This was aimed primarily at the U.S., and particularly at George’s work with the Montagnard tribes. Now, there was a suspicion that the Americans were secretly training certain Laotian officers, perhaps in the Philippines.
It was getting more difficult for George and his partner to operate.
I write of George’s Laotian service and experience 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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