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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 (1909-07-23)23 July 1909
Los Angeles, California
Died 27 May 2010(2010-05-27) (aged 100)
Chula Vista, California
Place of burial
Saint Carmel Cemetery, Campo Indian Reservation
(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.

Early life

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

Pearl harbor and after

USS John Finn DDG-113 Crest
USS John Finn DDG-113 Crest. John Finn is named in honor of Lt. John William Finn

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.

He was the first member of the armed services to earn the Medal of Honor during World War II for heroism.

Personal life and death

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

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.

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