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John William Finn

Date of birth: July 24, 1909
Date of death: May 27, 2010
Burial location: Live Oak Springs, California
Place of Birth: California, Los Angeles
Home of record: Belle Vernon Acres California

Kaneohe Bay was hit five minutes before Pearl Harbor, making John Finn's heroic actions the first of World War II to merit award of the Medal of Honor.


Medal of Honor

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Awarded for actions during the World War II

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Lieutenant John William Finn, United States Navy, 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 7 December 1941, Lieutenant 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 machinegun 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.

Action Date: 7-Dec-41

Service: Navy

Rank: Lieutenant

Company: Patrol Squadron 14 (VP-14)

Division: Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay