Oldest WWII Medal of Honor Recipient Dies ‎

WW2 Medal of Honor

John W. Finn with his wife Alice Finn after formal presentation of the Medal of Honor. (U.S. Navy Photograph.)

Navy Lt. John W. Finn, who received the Medal of Honor for bravery during the raid on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 died May 27 in Chula Vista, Calif. Lt. Finn at age 100 was the oldest surviving recipient of the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest honor for valor. Lt. Finn manned a machine gun at Kaneohe Bay Naval Air Station in an exposed position and fired for over two hours at Japanese aircraft despite multiple wounds.

The original Medal of Honor citation for Lt. Finn reads:

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, Kanoehe Bay, on 7 December 1941, Lieutenant 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 United States Naval Service.

Lt. Finn was formally presented the Medal of Honor in Sept. 1942, by Admiral Chester Nimitz on board the carrier USS Enterprise at Pearl Harbor.

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2 comments to Oldest WWII Medal of Honor Recipient Dies

  • Remember Pearl Harbor — Keep America Alert!

    (Now deceased) America’s oldest living Medal of Honor recipient, living his 101st year is former enlisted Chief Petty Officer, Aviation Chief Ordnanceman (ACOM), later wartime commissioned Lieutenant John W. Finn, U. S. Navy (Ret.). He is also the last surviving Medal of Honor, “The Day of Infamy”, Japanese Attack on the Hawaiian Islands, Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii, 7 December 1941.

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