Tag: Air Force Col. Leo Thorsness

By Alex Snyder, Defense Media Activity: Medal of Honor Recipient and POW Whose Valor Was ‘Hard To Keep Secret’

Air Force Col. Leo Thorsness is a former state senator and a recipient of the Medal of Honor for the courage he displayed on a mission during the Vietnam War, just over a week before he was taken prisoner.

Thorsness was born Feb. 14, 1932, in Walnut Grove, Minnesota, where he attended school and earned the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts. He attended South Dakota State College in 1950. A year later, he enlisted in the Air Force and went on to graduate from the Aviation Cadet Program with a commission as a 2nd lieutenant.

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Leo Keith Thorsness (February 14, 1932 – May 2, 2017) was a colonel in the United States Air Force who received the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Vietnam War. He was awarded the medal for an air engagement on April 19, 1967. He was shot down two weeks later and spent six years in captivity in North Vietnam as a prisoner of war. After his military service, Thorsness served one term in the Washington State Senate.

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