Oldest Medal of Honor recipient from WWII dies
By JULIE WATSON Associated Press Writer
May 27, 2010, 7:05PM
SAN DIEGO — Retired Navy Lt. John Finn — the first American to receive the nation's highest military award for defending sailors under a torrent of gunfire during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor — died Thursday. He was 100.
Finn was the oldest of 97 Medal of Honor recipients from World War II still living. He died at a nursing home for veterans in Chula Vista, outside San Diego, according to a Navy statement.
Despite head wounds and other injuries, Finn, the chief of ordnance for an air squadron, continuously fired a .50-caliber machine gun from an exposed position as bullets and bombs pounded the Naval Air Station at Kaneohe Bay in Oahu. He then supervised the rearming of returning American planes.
"Here they're paying you for doing your duty, and that's what I did," Finn told The Associated Press before his 100th birthday. "I never intended to be a hero. But on Dec. 7, by God, we're in a war."
President Barack Obama said "his modesty does not diminish his extraordinary conduct or the incredible example he has set for our men and women in uniform and for all Americans."
"I had the privilege of meeting Lt. Finn last year, and I was struck by his warmth and humility," Obama said in a statement from the White House. "As we mark Memorial Day, and pay tribute all who have fallen in defense of this nation, the passing of Lt. Finn is a reminder of the sacrifices that generations have made to preserve the freedoms we hold dear."
Finn, who enlisted in the Navy just before his 17th birthday, received the Medal of Honor on Sept. 15, 1942.
more: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/ ... 25853.html
With the typical humility of Medal Of Honor recipients, he didn't think he did anything out of the ordinary he was just doing his job.