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Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Navy

John William Finn

  • Rank: Lieutenant (rank at time of action: Aviation Chief Ordnance Man)
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    VP-14 Squadron (Patrol Planes Squadron)
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Navy
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: December 7, 1941
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Kaneohe Bay, Territory of Hawaii

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, Lt. (then A.C.O.M.) Finn promptly secured and manned a .50-caliber machine gun 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.

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Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Belle Vernon Acres, Los Angeles County, California
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: September 15, 1942

    On board the U.S.S. Enterprise, Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, presented by Adm. Chester W. Nimitz

  • Born: July 24, 1909, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, CA, United States
  • Died: May 27, 2010, Chula Vista, CA, United States
  • Buried: Mt. Carmel Cemetery, Campo Indian Reservation, El Cajon, CA, United States

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