Army Badge
  • Name: Einar Alvin Latvala
  • Location of Birth: Hoquiam, Washington
  • Date of Birth: July 14, 1908
  • Date of Death: January 21, 1945
  • Parents: John A. Latvala & Ida E. (Rumbeck) Latvala
  • High School and Class:
  • College:
  • Highest Rank: PFC (Private First Class)
  • Branch: Army
  • Other Branch: Marine Corps
  • Date Sworn In: December 1928
  • Place Sworn In:
  • Date of Discharge:
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  • Military Highlights:
    Obituary for Einar Alvin Latvala from the Eastern Itascan, Nashwauk, Minnesota dated 19 November 1948:
    Military funeral services will be conducted at two p.m. Monday, November 22, for Pfc. Einar Alvin Latvala, USMC, who died January 21, 1945 in a Japanese prison camp and whose remains are being brought home for reburial in the Nashwauk cemetery.
    Services will be held at the servicemen's quarters at the Memorial building under the direction of the Walter Riley post 307, American Legion, and the Edberg-Scalise post 3024, Veterans of Foreign Wars. Rev. Albert Nassen will officiate. A firing squad of men of both posts will participate and ex-servicemen are requested to attend in uniform.
    The remains will arrive today at Hibbing and will be at the home of Pfc. Latvala's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Art Latvala, from four o'clock Sunday afternoon until 11 a.m. Monday morning, when they will be brought to the Memorial building to be in state until the time for the services.
    Private first class Latvala was born July 14, 1909, at Hoquiam, Wash., and attended schools at Hoquiam, Great Falls, Mont, and Nashwauk.
    He enlisted in the U.S. Army in December 1928 and in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1929 to serve nine years. In 1939 he re-enlisted in the Marine Corps and served with the fleet and in Hawaii and in China. On December 7, 1941, he was in Cavite, Philippine Islands, and was taken prisoner on April 20, 1942. at Corregidor. His death in a prison camp nearly three years later was caused by beri-beri.
    Besides his parents, he is survived by seven sisters and six brothers: Mrs. George Nelson of Belt, Mont., Mrs. Henry Stricker of Milwaukee, Wis., Mrs. Walter Anderson and Mrs. John Hudak of Great Falls, Mont., Mrs. Leon Juaire and Mrs. Paul Edwards of St. Paul, Mrs. Francis McDowell of Nashwauk, Raymond Latvala of San Bernardino, Calif., Axel of St. Paul, Woodrow of Rolla, Mo., Pershing and Warren of Aberdeen, S.D., and Charles of St. Paul.
    Honorary pall bearers will be Herbert Latvala, George Williams, George Orlovich, Ted Arsenault, Bob Sarago and Gust Nuorala.

  • Wars Involved:
    World War II

  • MIA / POW:
    Einar A. Latvala was captured by Imperial Japan while serving in the Philippine Islands, and was sent to Osaka Main Camp Chikko near Osaka, Japan where 4,123 other American POWs were held. Einar's capture was first reported to the International Committee of the Red Cross on May 6, 1942, and the last report was made on January 1, 1945. Based on these two reports, Einar was imprisoned for at least 971 days (2 years and 9 months), one of the longest durations of captivity recorded. Ultimately, Einar died as a prisoner of war. (Information from the Find A Grave memorial for Einar Alvin Latvala - ID #113036789.)

    Newspaper article: Itasca Iron News, Coleraine, Minnesota - September 6, 1945: Pfc. Einar A. Latvala, a brother of Ray Latvala, died in a Japanese prison camp on January 21, according to a telegram received by his parents, Mrs. and Mrs. Arthur Latvala of Nashwauk. The telegram, sent by General A. A. Vandergrift, commandant of the Marine Corps., read as follows: "Deeply regret to inform you report just received stated your son, died Jan. 21, 1945, of beriberi in a Japanese prison camp. No information available regarding burial. Please accept my heartfelt sympathy."
    Pfc. Latvala, who was stationed in the Philippines at the time of Pearl Harbor, was taken prisoner following the fall of Bataan and Corregidor. He was later transferred from a Philippine prison camp to Japan.

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