The ashes of Gen. Aleksander Einseln, the first Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) following the reestablishment of Estonian independence in 1991, were seen off by the EDF in a special ceremony at Tallinn Airport early Wednesday morning. Einseln's ashes will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery just outside of Washington.
Einseln's ashes were seen off by Chief Chaplain of the EDF Lt. Col. Gustav Kutsar in a ceremony that also included the general's loved ones as well as an honor guard of the Guard Battalion.
Einseln's ashes will be buried with military honors on April 2 alongside fellow veterans of the Korean and Vietnam Wars at Arlington National Cemetery.
The EDF will be represented at the interment by Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces Gen. Riho Terras.
Located in Arlington County, Virginia, directly across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., Arlington National Cemetery is a U.S. military cemetery established in 1864. Among those interred there are veterans of the U.S. Civil War, World War II, and the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
From refugee to commander of the Estonian Defence Forces
Einseln was born on Oct. 25, 1931 in Tallinn. He and his mother fled Estonia in 1944, initially to Germany before arriving in the U.S. in 1949. From 1951-1985, he served in the U.S. Army, where he also fought in the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
In 1993, on the request of President Lennart Meri, Einseln returned to Estonia to serve as Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces from May 1993 through December 1995.
Einseln was one of just four officers of the Estonian Defence Forces to date to be promoted to the rank of general, along with Gens. Johan Laidoner (1884-1953), Ants Laaneots (1948-) and Riho Terras (1967-).
He died on March 16, 2017, aged 85.
Editor: Aili Vahtla