American Valor
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John FinnJohn Finn

Born: July 23, 1909
Los Angeles, California

War: World War II

Rank: Lieutenant, US Navy

Location of action: Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, Territory of Hawaii

Date of action: December 7, 1941

Medal received from: Admiral Chester Nimitz aboard USS Enterprise, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt September 15, 1942

Official Citation:
For extraordinary heroism distinguished service, and devotion above and beyond the call of duty. During the first attack by Japanese airplanes on the Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, on December 7, 1941, Lt. Finn promptly secured and manned a .50-caliber machinegun mounted on an instruction stand in a completely exposed section of the parking ramp, which was under heavy enemy machine gun strafing fire. Although painfully wounded many times, he continued to man this gun and to return the enemy's fire vigorously and with telling effect throughout the enemy strafing and bombing attacks and with complete disregard for his own personal safety. It was only by specific orders that he was persuaded to leave his post to seek medical attention. Following first aid treatment, although obviously suffering much pain and moving with great difficulty, he returned to the squadron area and actively supervised the rearming of returning planes. His extraordinary heroism and conduct in this action were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

John Finn was born in Los Angeles, California and spent his early years in Compton. He enlisted in the Navy at the age of 17 on July 29, 1926. Finn was assigned to Hawaii in 1940 and served there until 1943. He was commissioned an ensign on October 6, 1942. He was promoted to Lieutenant in May 1943. In 1943 he was transferred to the mainland and in 1946 he transferred to the fleet reserve. In 1947 at the U.S. Navy Training Center, he retired from active duty.

Of Note:
John Finn received the first Medal of Honor awarded for WWII.

Finn also holds the Purple Heart, Navy Unit Commendation, Good Conduct with 2 bars, Yangtze Service Medal, American Defense, American Campaign, Pacific Campaign, and the World War II Victory Medal.

Medal Inscription:

Awarded to John W. Finn
Aviation Chief Ordnance man USN
For Extraordinary Heroism Above
And Beyond the Call of Duty When,
With Telling Effect, He Manned
An Unprotected Machine Gun In
The Face of Heavy Enemy Fire In
The Japanese Aerial Attack on
The Naval Air Station
Kaneohe Bay, T.H.
On December 7, 1941 And
Although Painfully Wounded,
Continued the Action
Against the Enemy
Attacking Planes.

©2003 GWETA