John William Finn

John William Finn was a distinguished American sailor who became renowned for his heroic actions during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Here’s an overview of his remarkable life:

Early Life and Military Service: John Finn was born on July 23, 1909, in Los Angeles, California. He enlisted in the United States Navy in 1926 and served as an Aviation Ordnanceman, specializing in the maintenance and handling of aircraft weaponry.

Actions at Pearl Harbor: On the morning of December 7, 1941, Finn was stationed at Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay, where he held the rank of Chief Petty Officer. Despite being wounded multiple times by strafing enemy aircraft, Finn courageously manned a .50 caliber machine gun mounted on an exposed platform. With complete disregard for his own safety, he continued to return fire at the attacking Japanese planes, inflicting significant damage and helping to defend his base.

Recognition and Awards: For his extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty during the attack, John Finn was awarded the Medal of Honor, the United States’ highest military decoration. He received the medal from Admiral Chester W. Nimitz on September 15, 1942, becoming the first Medal of Honor recipient of World War II.

Later Service and Legacy: Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, John Finn continued to serve in the Navy, eventually retiring from active duty in 1956 with the rank of Lieutenant. He remained active in veterans’ organizations and was a staunch advocate for military personnel and veterans’ rights. In 2006, the USS John Finn (DDG-113), an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, was commissioned in his honor, ensuring that his legacy of bravery and selflessness endures for future generations.

Conclusion: John Finn’s valor and unwavering commitment to duty exemplify the finest traditions of the United States Navy. His heroism at Pearl Harbor serves as a timeless reminder of the sacrifices made by servicemen and women in defense of freedom and democracy. John Finn’s legacy continues to inspire and uplift, embodying the true spirit of courage and selflessness in the face of adversity.