From Academic Kids

Lauri Allan Törni (May 28, 1919 - October 1965) was a Finnish army captain who led an infantry unit in Finnish wars and moved to the United States after the war. He is known as the soldier who fought under three flags: Finnish and German, when he fought the Russians in World War II, and American (where he was known as Larry Thorne) when he fought in Vietnam.

Törni was born in Viipuri to a well-off family. He entered military service in 1938 and continued his service in Reserve Non-commissioned Officers school in Hamina until the beginning of the Winter War.

Törni was originally assigned to supply troops, but during the battles at Lake Ladoga he was transferred to the front line. He took part in the annihilation of the encircled Russian divisions in Lemetti. After the war, in 1941 Törni was one of the men who were sent to Germany to train with Waffen-SS, but he soon returned home.

Most of Törni's reputation is based on his successful feats in the Continuation War. In 1943 he was assigned to Detachment Törni, an infantry unit that fought behind the enemy lines. One of his men was a future president, Mauno Koivisto. The Soviet Army had a bounty on Törni's head equivalent to 3 million Finnish marks. He was decorated with the Mannerheim Cross on July 9, 1944.

Törni was dissatisfied with the terms of the peace treaty and went to Germany in 1945 for additional saboteur training. He surrendered to British troops in the last stages of the war and eventually returned to Finland. When he came back, ValPo (State Police) arrested him. He moved to the United States in 1949 after his pardon.

Törni joined the US Army in 1954 and took the name Larry Thorne. He ended up as an instructor in the Special Forces and taught skiing, survival, mountaineering and guerilla tactics. In turn he learned parachuting. From 1958 to 1962 he served in the 10th Special Forces unit in West Germany. In November 1963 he joined a Special Forces unit A-734 in Vietnam and fought in the Mekong Delta. He was decorated twice.

In 1965 he had been transferred to MACVSOG training unit in Vietnam as a military advisor. On October 18, 1965, he left for a clandestine mission and his helicopter crashed 25 miles from Da Nang. When the rescue squad arrived, they did not find his body. It is assumed that he either died in the crash or in battle on October 19.

His remains were found in 1999 and formally identified in 2003. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on June 26, 2003.

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