Victor Innanen attempted to enlist in the Canadian Army in late 1941 at the young age of 15 years. Undaunted he returned, changing his last name to "Coja" his mother's maiden name, where he successfully enlisted.

    On February 12th, 1942 Victor became a member of the Royal Canadian Infantry Corps. Private Innanen volunteered and was selected to join the 1st Canadian Special Service Battalion and trained with the First Special Service Force in Helena. Private Innanen was a member of Third Company, First Regiment (3-1). He took all the necessary training that qualified him to be a fully trained member of the Combat echelon of the First Special Service Force. Pvt. Innanen deployed to Kiska Alaska and later to the Italian Theatre in the Liri Valley. He made it through the first Mountain Battle of Monte la Defensa and then on to the second mountain battle of Monte Majo. It was here that Private Victor Innanen (Coja) was killed in action on Mount Majo on January 11th, 1944.

    At the age of 17 years, Victor Innanen became the youngest member of the First Special Service Force to be killed in action. Private Victor Innanen (Coja) is laid to rest at the Cassino Commonwealth Cemetery Italy.
    Grave Marker: A 62168 Private V. Innanen , Special Service Troops, Canadian Army, 11th January 1944, Age 17, GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN THAN THIS THAT A MAN MAY LAY DOWN HIS LIFE FOR HIS FRIENDS. Cassino War Cemetery, Italy, Grave Ref. IV. K. 2.
    Image: John Hart.
    Private Innanen in winter camouflage
    and skis c.a. 1942-43.
    Image: John Hart
    Private Victor Inannen (Coja) in his First Special Service Force uniform complete with Parachute Wings c.a., 1943. Image: Veterans Affairs Canada.