PASSAGES: PEARL HARBOR HERO JOHN FINN, 100, DIES

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Services Thursday for Medal of Honor recipient and former East County resident

May 29, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – John Finn, the oldest living Medal of Honor recipient honored for his heroism during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, died May 27 in a Chula Vista nursing home.

 

Finn manned a machine gun from an exposed position at the Naval Air Station at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii on December 7, 1941, firing at the attacking planes for more than two hours despite being hit 21 times by bomb and bullet fragments. The young Lieutenant left his post only when directly ordered to seek medical attention, then returned after treatment despite severe pain to supervise rearming of returning squadron planes.  For his courageous actions, he received the Medal of Honor, the highest award for valor during combat that a U.S. military member may earn.

 

“This is a sad day for our nation and the San Diego community,” said Congressman Duncan D. Hunter. “John was humble, never considering himself much of a hero but, to everyone else, he was part of a special class of American heroes who will forever be remembered for their service and sacrifice. His story will continue inspiring generations to come while also reminding us all about the contributions and sacrifices of America’s greatest generation. I am proud to have called John a friend and greatly appreciate the opportunity to have represented him in Congress.”
 

Born in Los Angeles on July 24, 1909, Finn was a long-time resident of East County and was feted as a Grand Marshal recently in La Mesa’s Flag Day Parade, along with other World War II veterans.  Finn has military buildings named after him in San Diego and Hawaii and was hailed as a hero among veterans groups nationwide.
 

Services will be held Thursday, June 3rd at El Cajon-Lakeside-Santee Mortuary and Cremation Service, 684 S. Mollison Avenue in El Cajon. A viewing is set for 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the mortuary. Finn will be buried in the Campo Indian Reservation cemetery.