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John William Finn
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Military Personnel
    (July 23, 1909-May 27, 2010)
    Born in Compton, California
    Chief Petty Officer in charge of naval aviation ordinance at Kaneohe Bay air station
    Received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the bombing of Pearl Harbor
    Last surviving Navy Medal of Honor recipient of World War II
    He dropped out of school in the 7th grade.
    He conceded about his firing on the attacking planes at Pearl Harbor, ‘I can’t honestly say I hit any.’
    He joined the John Birch Society.
    During the Pearl Harbor attack, he mounted a machine gun on a movable tripod, and pushed it into an open area where he had a clear view of the attacking aircraft.
    He kept firing for over two hours, despite receiving 21 wounds, including a broken foot, a bullet wound that cut off the sensation in his left arm, and shrapnel wounds to his chest, stomach and right elbow.
    After receiving first aid, he helped arm the surviving American planes.
    He said about being called a hero, ‘You gotta be in the position. You gotta understand that’s there all kinds of heroes, but they never get a chance to be in a hero’s position.’
    He was married to Alice Dilts for 65 years until her death.
    He and Alice were foster parents to five Native American children, resulting in their being adopted into the Campo Band of Deigueno Mission Indians.
    He said about being invited to the premier of the movie ‘Pearl Harbor’ (1999), ‘I liked it especially because I got to kiss all those pretty little movie actresses.’

Credit: C. Fishel

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