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Military Museum (Sotamuseo)- Major Thorne (Lauri Törni) Exhibit

<< Back to Helsinki- Sotamuseo


In the main military history museum building


An exhibit which includes Major Thorne’s military medals and award commendations.


From the Military Museum Website: The Military Museum includes objects and images related to Finland's military and weapons' history and to the different stages of the Defense Forces. The Military Museum's exhibitions span from wars fought centuries ago to modern-day crisis management.


An exhibit remembers the Finnish-American soldier Major Larry Alan Thorne, born Lauri Allan Törni in Viipuri, Finland in 1919.


He first served in the Finnish Army during the “Winter War’  (First Finnish-Soviet War) against the Soviet Union in 1939-1940.  He later served in the Finnish and German Armies fighting against the Soviet Union in World War 2 and in the “Continuation War (Second Finnish-Soviet War) between Finland and the Soviet Union 1941-45. He was awarded the Mannerheim Cross (equivalent to the US Medal of Honor) for his bravery in these wars.


Thorne immigrated to the United States in 1950. He joined the United States Army in 1954 and soon entered the nascent US Army Special Forces or “Green Berets”.  After becoming a US citizen in 1957 he attended Officer Candidate School and became an Army Officer.  


While assigned to the 10th Special Forces Group in Germany, he was commended for his actions in a mission to search and recovery operation in the High Zagros Mountains of Iran in 1962.


In 1963 he deployed to Vietnam with the 5th Special Forces Group.  He later transferred to the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group (MACV–SOG), a classified US special operations unit focusing on unconventional warfare in Vietnam, as a military advisor. 


During two tours in Vietnam with the MACV-SOG, Thorne ran deep cover into Cambodia and Laos to track down the North Vietnamese supply network that became known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Wounded on several occasions and earning two Purple Hearts, his last mission took place in 1965 when his helicopter went down behind enemy lines across the Laotian border. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for this action and posthumously promoted to Major.


Thorne was listed as Missing in Action and was not recovered until 1999.  He was buried with full honors in Arlington National Cemetery in 2003 with three of his Vietnamese comrades in arms. 


The 10th Special Forces Group Headquarters Building on Fort Carson, Colorado is named in Thorne’s honor as well as the annual award, the "Larry A. Thorne Award”,  is awarded to the best Special Forces Detachment in the US Army.


Source: History of MACV-SOG Website.

Monument Text:




Larry Alan (Lauri Törni) Thorne


10th Special Forces Group

5th Special Forces Group

Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV)

US Army Special Forces


Vietnam War


Other images :