Retired Navy Lt. John Finn, the oldest Medal of Honor recipient from World War II, has died at his Southern California home. He was 100.
Navy Lt. Aaron Kakiel says Finn died early Thursday on his ranch near Live Oak Springs, where he lived for more than 50 years.
Finn earned the nation’s highest military valor award for his heroism during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He received the Medal of Honor on Sept. 15, 1942, from then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Born July 23, 1909, in Los Angeles, Finn was the oldest of the 97 Medal of Honor recipients still living.
During the Dec. 7, 1941, attack, Finn manned a machine gun and began firing from an exposed location on Japanese aircraft, suffering serious wounds in the process.
Here’s the citation:
Medal of Honor
Awarded for actions during the World War II
For 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 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.
Action Date: 7-Dec-41
Company: Patrol Squadron 14 (VP-14)
Division: Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay