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Lieut John William Finn

Lieut John William Finn

Birth
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Death 27 May 2010 (aged 100)
Chula Vista, San Diego County, California, USA
Burial Live Oak Springs, San Diego County, California, USA
Memorial ID 52924541 · View Source
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World War II Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. He was one of 15 sailors honored for heroism during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Raised in Los Angeles, he dropped out of school and enlisted in the Navy in 1926; after Boot Camp in San Diego he spent a time as a ceremonial guard then received aviation training. Eventually rising to Chief Aviation Ordinanceman around 1936, he had seen duty aboard a number of ships, including the USS Lexington, the USS Houston, and the USS Cincinnati, and was assigned to Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941. At home when the bombing started, he drove to the base, took charge of a .50 caliber machine gun, and defended a runway for two-and-a-half hours despite being wounded in the scalp, left arm, and left leg. For his actions, Chief Finn was awarded the Medal of Honor on board the USS Enterprise on September 15, 1942, by Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. Ten of the Medals of Honor awarded for December 7th were posthumous; Chief Finn was one of four winners to survive the war, and at his death was the oldest Medal of Honor recipient. Remaining in the Navy until 1956, he retired as a Lieutenant, then lived on a cattle ranch near Pine Valley, California, until declining health forced him into a nursing facility. The recipient of countless invitations over the years, he was uncomfortable in the role of "hero", but after attending the premiere of the film "Pearl Harbor" in 1999, he said: "I liked it especially because I got to kiss all the pretty little movie actresses".

Bio by: Bob Hufford


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
  • Added: 27 May 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 52924541
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Lieut John William Finn (23 Jul 1909–27 May 2010), Find A Grave Memorial no. 52924541, citing Saint Carmel Cemetery, Live Oak Springs, San Diego County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .