MACV-SOG had been a joint venture between the Special Forces and the CIA from the very beginning. It was a concept well ahead of its time that fused the intelligence gathering aspects of the CIA with the technical and tactical proficiency of professional soldiers who knew how to work on the sharp end. Special Forces legends such Billy Waugh, along with many other SOG veterans, did contract work for the Agency later on in their careers.
With the linguistic skills, cultural awareness, and his all around unconventional worldview, it comes as no surprise that George Bacon was trained by the CIA and put back into the action, this time in Laos.
George Washington Bacon III: MACV-SOG Operator, CIA Para-Military Officer, Mercenary, and Eccentric Genius
First he and other potential Para-Military operatives underwent training at “The Farm”, the CIA’s training facility in Williamsburg, Virginia. The instructors were none to pleased with George’s eccentric behavior as he traveled everywhere with his pet gerbils. He was always taking the cardboard tubes out of the toilet paper rolls in the bathroom for his gerbils to chew on and had his fellow students helping him with this endeavor, irritating their CIA instructors to no end.
Whenever the CIA trainees wore suits, George was by far the best dressed. His father worked for Hicky-Freeman, the men’s garment company. Despite having a degree, he had served as a Sergeant and despite coming from money he insisted on directly taking part in the fight against communism. A man of more than a few irregularities, George always wore his combat boots with his Hicky-Freeman tailored suits just in case he had to “stomp ass.”
Shipping off to Laos at the age of 24, George relieved Burr Smith as the liaison officer to Task Force Vang Pao. After this assignment, George worked with Groupe Mobile-24 in June of 1971. GM-24 was a mixed Regiment of irregular soldiers consisting of Hmong units from Northern Laos with an attached heavy weapons platoon of Thai mercenaries.
Operating on the Plaine Des Jarres, a fifty square mile section of flat highlands that separated Vietnam from Laos, GM-24 was flown by Air America helicopters to Khang Kho for a major offensive. They then marched north to Lat Sen where the Regiment conducted search and attack operations for several days before moving West to the communist held Phou Seu, which was captured easily as the PAVN forces were already withdrawing.
When GM-24 was extracted out of the field, George (callsign Kayak) was the last man out of the field, hopping onto the final Air America chopper off of the Plaine Des Jarres. He had wanted to lead his Hmong irregulars on a patrol to cut off and kill a NVA reconnaissance unit in the area. Returning to their headquarters in Long Tieng, he was reminded in no uncertain terms that he wasn’t a SOG commando anymore and was not to be leading combat patrols but rather acting as an adviser. “I know, I know,” George replied taking his ever present toothbrush out of his mouth.
The Hmong patrol he did send out came back with important intelligence about new uniforms the enemy wore and George was able to chart the route that the NVA were taking along the west end of the plains.
Fellow para-military officer James Parker worked closely with George. Writing about his eccentric genius, he mentions that George read, “the thickest, dullest tomes ever written, mostly about economics and the stock market…” Back home George was known to play the stock market and mostly made bad investments due to poor communications which were two weeks out of date. Yet somehow, he managed to make money doing it.
Described as a loner, he was known to read a paperback in less than two hours and even go picking through the garbage for more books to read when he exhausted whatever supply was on hand. George believed that if it was written than it deserved to be read. Parker remembers him blowing through books with titles such as “Calculus as Art”, “Labor Union Considerations of Dental Plans”, and “The Effects of the Industrial Revolution on Italian Emigration Patterns.”
He slept in the nude, much to Parker’s chagrin since they bunked together, reading his books and eating crackers in his bunk late into the night.
GM-24 continued to fight offensives across the plains of Laos, presumably with George Bacon in an advisory role, until the end of the Vietnam war, when the clandestine “Secret War” was shut down by the CIA.
For his actions in Laos the CIA awarded him the Intelligence Star, their second highest honor. Obviously, George was doing something right over there.