A recent SOFREP article about military legend Larry Thorne provided a high-level overview of his service in the Finnish military, German military, and U.S. Special Forces. This article provides a more in-depth look at his involvement in Vietnam, and particularly the helicopter crash that led to him being MIA for over 40 years.
Also included below is video footage of Thorne as part of some classic Special Forces Group training, along with a Finnish documentary about his service and accounts from his former teammates.
Larry Thorne: Headquarters Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Detachment SD 5891, 5th Special Forces Group, 1st Special Forces with orders to Studies and Observation Group Long Thanh, South Vietnam.
Larry Alan Thorne was born Lauri Allan Torni in Viipuri, Finland. As a young adult, he enlisted in the Finish Army where he obtained the rank of Captain. During the early years of World War II, he developed, trained and commanded the Finish ski troops. Under his strict and demanding leadership, the ski troops fought the Russians deep behind enemy lines for extended periods of time. During Finland’s wars against the former Soviet Union, he was awarded every medal for bravery that Finland could bestow including the Knight of the Mannerheim Cross, which is the equivalent of the American Congressional Medal of Honor. After Finland fell to the communists, Captain Torni joined the German SS in order to continue fighting the communists. After World War II, Lauri Torni made his way to the United States where he enlisted in the U.S. Army under the Lodge Bill. After completing basic training, Larry Thorne was selected for the budding Special Forces program. He quickly rose through the ranks, and with the assistance of allies within the military, received a commission. In 1964, Larry Thorne served his first 6-month tour of duty in South Vietnam.