Thursday, October 21, 2010

Movie Plot

A young man is caught up in a war when a larger country invades their smaller neighbor. He finds he has a talent for the military life and becomes an officer. He eventually runs a team of guerrillas that inflict so much damage on the enemy that a price is put on his head. He also earns the equivalent of the Medal of Honor. But he becomes disillusioned when the politicians make a truce which ends the war with a loss of territory. In order to keep fighting, he joins the army of the country who was a co-belligerent with him against his former enemy. When the war ends and he is repatriated, he is tried for treason for violating the terms of the treaty and sentenced to 6 years.

After several years in jail, he is pardoned by the President. He then leaves his home country for the protection of a neutral neighboring country where he meets a woman and tries to make a living as a lumber jack. It turns out to be a dull life so he catches a boat for South America where some old army friends help him get to America. He jumps ship in America and is allowed to stay with the help of “Wild Bill” Donovan. He enlists in the US Army under the Lodge Act in order to earn citizenship. He is starting over as a private but soon moves up the ranks and becomes an officer. He joins the Special Forces and takes part in several secret missions before being sent to Vietnam. He becomes MIA in Vietnam after a helicopter crash in Laos. It is only years later that his remains are recovered and identified to be interred in Arlington.

Sound like a good movie plot? Well, it’s the capsule biography of Larry Thorne who was born in Finland as Lauri Torni. He fought in the Winter War and the Continuation War where the Russians put a price on his head and he earned the Mannerheim Cross for his exploits. After Finland signed a treaty with Russia, He joined the Waffen SS to keep fighting the Russians (The SS had a special group made up of Scandinavian volunteers). After the end of WW II, Finland tried him for treason and he was sent to jail. After being released, he made his way to the US and joined the army, basically starting all over again as a pfc before going to OCS and joining the Special Forces.

He was the basis for the character Sven Kornie in the book, The Green Berets. He was assigned to MACV-SOG in Vietnam and died in a helicopter crash in Laos on 18 October 1965. His body was recovered in 2003. He is buried in Arlington and his name is on the wall. Go and pay homage to a unique individual.

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