Lucien Conein Family at Arlington National Cemetery
Lucien E. Conein was one of the last of the old fashioned spies. During World War II he was one of Wild Bill Donovan's boys with the OSS. Later, during the Cold War, he trained many of the agents sent into East Europe in hot air balloons at night (so they couldn't be detected by radar), and was the first to free-fall with a parachute, to enable agents to land more quickly when parachuting over enemy territory. Colonel Conein's career also involved in bringing the Shaw back to power in Iran. After the fall of the French in Indochina (now Vietnam) his mission was to organize anti-communist guerrillas in North Vietnam after the country was partitioned in 1k954
He retired from the military and CIA in 1968 but later Nixon appointed him to as chief of covert operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration, where he directed an intelligence-gathering and operations unit until his civilian retirement in 1984.
He was given a full military honors funeral at Arlington National Cemetery on July 14, 1998. Many people with whom he had worked with over the years were at the ceremony. Several told stories of their associations with Conein in the past. A British general described how Lou had become very popular with the local folks after Lou and the resistance he was leading had liberated St. Tropez. He said that Winston Chuchill asked that Lou be removed from St. Tropez before they elected him mayor.
Lou was born in France, died in June and was buried on Bastille Day. This photo essay is dedicated to his late wife of 40 years, Elyette, and his children from several marriages; Cecil, Serge, Bernard, Chip, Philip, Laurent and Caroline.
We met in Saigon in 1966 where we drank and ate together at La Casita, a well known Corsican restaurant. One day he could be one of the most ornery bastards you've ever met, then the next day, he would risk his life to save your ass. Lou taught me the value of not having to compromise what you believe in, and to never be afraid of life or death. He became one hell of a role model and a great friend. He is missed by all of us who knew him.