John W. Finn is the nation’s oldest living Medal of Honor Winner. Mr. Finn was born in Los Angeles in 1909.
On December 7, 1941 John W. Finn was an Aviation Chief Ordnanceman, stationed with a patrol squadron at NAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. That day, “the day that will live in infamy,” Mr. Finn earned the Congressional Medal of Honor 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 Lt. 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 five times by enemy strafing fire, Lt. Finn 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.