Foreign News: Sports-Shirt Soldiers

On the steel-mesh runway of Wattay Airport in Vientiane, a group of athletic-looking Americans in bright sports shirts and baseball caps busily loaded machine-gun belts and rockets aboard the four new T-6 "training" planes of the Royal Laotian Army. Not far away, behind a desk littered with documents stamped "secret," was their shirt-sleeved boss—former Brigadier General John Arnold Heintges, 48. The general tells his visitors: "Call me mister."

No Stars. Heintges directs a U.S. outfit that amounts to a military advisory group in Laos. But it must operate in mufti. Reason: the 1954 Geneva agreement that ended the war in Indo-China.

That agreement...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!