Tornquist, Nels A.

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Tornquist, Nels A.

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Nels A. Tornquist served as a U.S. Cavalry soldier, seeing action in several conflicts, and was known for his rapid promotion to command a black company during World War 1. Tornquist’s family moved to Kansas from Sweden when he was eight years old and homesteaded south of Salina, Kansas. Tornquist first joined the U.S. military in 1896 and from 1899 to 1902, he was part of the 22nd Field Artillery Battery as a corporal, serving in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War. After the war, he served with various regiments before serving with the 1st Squadron 13th Cavalry as a sergeant from 1916 to 1917 in the campaign against Pancho Villa. In 1918, Tornquist was made Captain QMC of a black company, 344th Labor Battalion Company B, which saw action in France during World War I. After the war, Tornquist was assigned to the ROTC in 1921 at the University of Washington in Seattle with a rank of sergeant before retiring from active duty in 1922. In 1932, an act of Congress promoted him to the retired rank of captain. Tornquist died in Pasadena, California, in 1950 at the age of 77.


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Written in November 2020 by Jarrod Kuckelman.




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Creator Source: Local Authority File

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