The former Chief Operations Officer (COO) of the Royal Bhutan Army, Goongloen Gongma Lam Dorji passed away this morning at the national referral hospital, Thimphu.

He was 87.

Goongloen Gongma Lam Dorji was born in Haa on October 23, 1933. He became a soldier when the Royal Bhutan Army was in its infancy, his career matured with the army, and he retired when the RBA had grown into a professional force of 10,000 strong personnel in 2005. He passed out from the Indian Military Academy in Dehra Dun, India, at the end of 1954 and completed a post training attachment with a range of Indian Army units and schools of instruction.

In March 1959, he received his first assignment, to establish the RBA training centre in Wangduephodrang, and also represented the Armed Forces at the National Assembly.

In 1962, during the Indo-China war, he was posted to Lingmithang to oversee the training of a militia force drawn from Kurtoe, Bumthang, Mongar, and Pemagatshel.

He was promoted to the rank of Maktsi Wongma (Lt. Colonel) on August 7, 1962, and served as the Commandant, Training Centre, from 1963 to 1964.

On November 25, 1964, he was appointed as the Chief Operations Officer at the army headquarters in Thimphu by the late King, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who promoted him as Maktsi (Full Colonel) in 1970.

His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuck promoted him to the rank of Goongloen Wogma (Maj. General) in June 1981, and then as Goongloen Gongma (Lt. General) on August 2, 1991.