27MAY10- John Finn, oldest living Medal of Honor Recipient, dies at 100
I want to thank to my good friend, Original Minuteman "36", who called me this afternoon to inform me of Mr. Finn's passing. 36 introduced me to John Finn a year or so ago and for that I am also very grateful. John Finn lived only a few miles from our usual border area of operations here in southeast San Diego county and always welcomed me into his home while regaling me with tales of days gone by, including December 7th, 1941. I can attest to the fact, mentioned in the article below, that the man had an incredible memory. The first time I visited with him he corrected my query about "a day which will live in infamy" by saying, "Dammit, I wasn't at Pearl Harbor, I was at Kaneohe Bay!"
The hardest part about visiting with Mr. Finn was finding the time to leave. I never wanted to miss a single second of a single story!
I especially like the last line of the article below, so much so that I highlighted it. Can anyone else relate?
Special thanks and condolences to Ms. Frances Carmichael, Mr. Finn's long time companion and caretaker. God Bless You, ma'am.
This Memorial Day weekend will be even a little more somber than those in years past. He passed away right as Fleet Week is beginning, an event he loved and attended regularly.
To quote my buddy "Beast" when he found out the news,
"Rest In Peace, Warrior." You will be missed. -C1
John Finn, hero at Pearl Harbor, dies at 100
By Blanca Gonzalez, UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
John Finn, the oldest living Medal of Honor recipient, died Thursday morning at the age of 100 at the Chula Vista Veterans Home.
He was stationed at Kaneohe Bay Naval Air Station on Dec. 7, 1941 when he found himself firing at Japanese planes from an exposed position at Pearl Harbor for more than two hours despite being hit 21 times by bomb and bullet fragments.
The longtime East County resident was credited by some with single-handedly shooting down a Japanese aircraft but he would later say “I can’t honestly say I hit any, but I shot at every damn plane I could see.”
Friends and fellow veterans said Lt. Finn was a rock star in military circles. People clamored for a handshake or to have a picture taken with him wherever he went. Fellow Medal of Honor recipient Tom Kelley said Lt. Finn was a big hit at a Veterans Day event in Massachusetts last year.
“He’s kind of a legend,” Kelley said. “He was a very warm person and had a phenomenal memory. He could remember everything and tell stories and not repeat himself. He made everyone who met him feel like they were the most important person in the world.”
He grew up near Los Angeles and had been in the Navy 15 years by the time he was stationed in Hawaii. He left the Navy as a lieutenant in 1947 after 21 years of service because he dreaded having to assume a ship command, according to a 1984 interview with the San Diego Union.
He downplayed his heroic efforts during World War II and said he was just doing his job. “I read about other guys with the medal who lost their lives or really suffered in wars and I think about myself. I was just an uneducated man who got mad as hell one day,” he said in 1984.
Funeral services are pending.