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The Lodge Act

The Lodge Act was passed in 1951. It was initially intended to enable the military to create a “foreign legion” of Soviet block expatriots to be used against a Russian invasion of Europe. When the Pentagon balked the law was used to recruit Finns and others into the ranks of Special Forces, primarily to create teams that could be dropped into Eastern Europe to organize, train and lead partisan resistance and sabotage of Soviet supply lines.

That incident with the crashed plane I mentioned was in the Zagros Mountains on the Iranian-Turkish-USSR border. Lt. Larry Thorne [or Lauri Torne as he was known in his native Finland], is one of the most forgotten cold war heroes. He led the successful 10th SF team that recovered the classified “equipment” and bodies from the aircraft. One source, (see Simpson below) says it was an “Otter” with four crew and MAAG officer passengers.

I have not yet seen the Gill book, but it undoubtedly contains a good deal of new information on that incident. Following his secret cold war missions Larry Thorne commanded Special Forces camp A-734 at Tinh Bien near a famous Viet Cong stronghold called The Seven Mountains area in the Mekong Delta. He developed the “border camp” concept during his 1964 tour in Vietnam. His camp became both the first successful example of pacification and the model for SF efforts to shut down the enemy supply lines through Cambodia and Laos. In 1965 Thorne was back in Vietnam with MACVSOG. The character “Korn” in Robin Moore’s popular book The Green Berets is loosely modeled on this real life hero who was legendary among SF vets, but unsung beyond those circles.

Sources on Larry Thorne:

Gill, H.A., III (1998). The Soldier Under Three Flags. Ventura, CA: Pathfinder Publishing.

Shultz, Richard H. Jr. (1999). The Secret War Against Hanoi: Kennedy’s and Johnson’s Use of Spies, Saboteurs, and Covert Warriors in North Vietnam. New York: HarperCollins Books.

Simpson, Charles M. (1983). Inside the Green Berets. Novato, CA: Presidio Press.

For additional information click here.

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