John William Finn

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John William Finn
Black and white photo of male individual in chief petty officer dress whites wearing the Navy Medal of Honor
John William Finn wearing his Medal of Honor
Born 23 July 1909(1909-07-23)
Los Angeles, California
Died 27 May 2010(2010-05-27) (aged 100)
Chula Vista, California
Place of burial Saint Carmel Cemetery,[1] Campo Indian Reservation[2] (32°39′03″N 116°21′54″W / 32.650866°N 116.365063°W / 32.650866; -116.365063Coordinates: 32°39′03″N 116°21′54″W / 32.650866°N 116.365063°W / 32.650866; -116.365063)
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1926–1956
Rank Lieutenant
Battles/wars World War II
 • Attack on Pearl Harbor
Awards Medal of Honor
Purple Heart

John William Finn (23 July 1909 – 27 May 2010) was an American sailor in the United States Navy. He served as a chief petty officer. He received the United States military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions during the attack on Pearl Harbor in World War II. Finn was the oldest living Medal of Honor recipient in the United States and the last living of the Pearl Harbor recipients.[3]

Early life[change | change source]

Finn was born on 23 July 1909 in Compton, California. Finn dropped out of school after the seventh grade.[4] He then attended General Aviation Utilities Training at Naval Station Great Lakes. In 1939, Finn married his wife Alice Finn.

Pearl harbor and after[change | change source]

As a chief aviation ordnanceman stationed at Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay, he earned the medal by manning a machine gun from an exposed position throughout the attack, despite being repeatedly wounded. He continued to serve in the Navy and in 1942 was commissioned an ensign.

In 1947 he was reverted to chief petty officer, eventually rising to lieutenant before his 1956 retirement. In his later years he made many appearances at events celebrating veterans. At the time of his death, Finn was the oldest living Medal of Honor recipient and the last living recipient from the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Personal life[change | change source]

His wife, Alice Finn, died in 1998.[5] Since 1956, Finn lived in a ranch in Live Oak Springs, near Pine Valley, California.

Death[change | change source]

Finn died at age 100 on the morning of 27 May 2010, at the Chula Vista Veterans Home from natural causes. He was buried besides his wife at the Campo Indian Reservation's cemetery, after a memorial service in El Cajon.[6]

References[change | change source]

  1. John William Finn at Find a Grave
    "List by Alphabet ( F-J )". Medal of Honor Historical Society of the United States. 2013. http://www.mohhsus.com/medal-of-honor/list-by-alphabet-2/list-by-alphabet-f-g-h-i-j. Retrieved 23 March 2013. "FINN, John William (World War II) Saint Carmel Cemetery (Campo Reservation Cemetery), Live Oak Springs, California"
    Lieut John William Finn at Find a Grave
  2. Willbanks, James H., ed. (2011). America's Heroes: Medal of Honor Recipients from the Civil War to Afghanistan. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO. p. 183. ISBN 9781598843934 . http://books.google.com/books?id=1j4d53cZWO4C&lpg=PA103&ots=bKi37E0jk4&dq=Finn%20buried%20Campo&pg=PA103#v=onepage&q=Finn%20buried%20Campo&f=false. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  3. "John Finn, Medal of Honor Winner, Dies at 100". New York Times.com. 27 May 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/28/us/28finn.html?_r=0. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  4. Collier, Peter (2006). Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty. New York: Workman Publishing Company. p. 83. ISBN 978-1-57965-314-9 .
  5. Shapiro, T. Rees (30 May 2010). "Lt. John W. Finn, Medal of Honor recipient, Dies At 100". The Washington Post: p. B5. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/28/AR2010052804477.html.
  6. Onell R. Soto; Jeanette Steele (4 June 2010). "Family and friends bid farewell to John Finn". San Diego Union Tribune. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2010/jun/03/family-and-friends-bid-farewell-john-finn/. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
    Blanca Gonzalez (28 May 2010). "John Finn, hero at Pearl Harbor, dies at 100". San Diego Union Tribune. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2010/may/27/john-finn-hero-at-pearl-harbor-dies-at-100/. Retrieved 23 March 2013.

Other websites[change | change source]

Media related to John William Finn at Wikimedia Commons