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Swedes.) When the group left Ely there was a big throng at the station to wish them well, and there was an unexpected touch when the Ely mines all blew their whistles in salute just before the train pulled out.

The group was taken first to a basic training camp in Denver, Colorado, and training was continued in San Francisco. It was here that they embarked on the Belgian King and sailed to Honolulu, as part of a regiment but kept intact in a 105-man detachment commanded by Gibson, who tried to keep his men fit with shipboard calisthenics. What pleased the Finns most was their first Army payday on shipboard: $15.60 pay per month, with free room and board, "and all for having done nothing."

The regiment eventually landed in Manila and began its march into the hinterland. On a couple of occasions one of the battalion commanders, Colonel Sonck, had tried to give orders to the Finns, who stood at attention but did not understand what was required of them. When Sonck complained to Gibson for having recruited men who didn't comprehend a word of English, Gibson replied that he had seen his men brawling with some Irish soldiers at camp and was convinced that if he had had just one company full of Finns it would have been all the expeditionary force the Americans would have required in the Philippines. The colonel finally had to agree with Gibson when the battalion transportation was stuck in a swamp and was rescued by the efforts of these Finns with scant help from anyone else. The first casualty among them was Matti Ekola, who came down with malaria, was discharged from a hospital, overate in a restaurant, had a relapse and died.

In the course of 20 months in the Philippines the Finnish group suffered 15 dead and 31 wounded. The return of the survivors to Ely came with the men arriving together as a group, on a Saturday evening in April, 1901, to a reception arranged by their fellow-Finns, with dancing until late that night at the Kaleva hall.

Later, both World War I and II saw Finns of Ely serving in the American armed forces. In the first, George E. Porthan lost his life in France at the battle of Argonne. In the second, Lieutenant Julia Hakko served as a nurse in the Philippines her father had fought in during the Spanish-American War, while Teuvo A. Ahola flew as a squadron leader with the Green Hornets in the Pacific, was promoted to major at the age of 25, and later served as U.S. Air Attache in Helsinki. Captain Walter B. Leino served as instructor in the OCS at Fargo, North Dakota;


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