Who was Alpo K. Marttinen?

Introduction

Alpo Kullervo Marttinen (04 November 1908 to 20 December 1975) was a Finnish-American colonel.

Alpo Marttinen in 1944.

Background

During World War II he served in the Finnish Army. Following the war he immigrated to the United States and served as an officer in the United States Army, retiring as a colonel.

Marttinen was one of the key figures in the Weapons Cache Case where a large number of Finnish Army weapons were hidden around the country in case of a Soviet invasion. Soldiers involved in this case were forced to leave Finland since hiding weapons was a criminal act due to the 1944 Moscow Armistice. These soldiers , who mostly fled to United States and enlisted in the US Army, were later called as “Marttinen’s men”.

Marttinen first fled to Sweden in 1945 with the help of his former subordinate officer Harry Järv. A year later Marttinen and his family moved to the United States, where he was given citizenship in 1951. He served in the US Army from 1947 to 1968, first as a specialist and instructor of winter warfare and later as a General Staff Officer in the United States, West-Germany and South Korea. Marttinen spent the last three years of his career as a Military advisor in Iran. He also was a graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College (1950) and the US Army War College (1963).

Marttinen died on the 20th of December, 1975, at Falls Church, Virginia, and was buried at Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery. He had three sons. His oldest, Pekka Marttinen (1933-1958), served as a lieutenant in the 2nd US Cavalry Regiment and was killed in a gunnery explosion in Grafenwöhr, Germany.

Awards

  • Finland:
    • Mannerheim Cross.
  • United States:
    • Legion of Merit.
    • Army Commendation Medal.
    • Army Good Conduct Medal.
    • National Defence Service Medal.
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