Saturday, May 29, 2010

More than a "Swab Jockey"

This week John Finn died.
At 100 yrs old, he was the oldest surviving recipient of the nation's highest medal for valor. At Medal of Honor banquets, Finn routinely declined to accept the accolade of hero. "All I ever was was an old swab jockey..what I did I was being paid for."

Under fire in Hawaii, he immediately manned a .50-caliber machine gun and fired on Japanese attack planes that swooed low over the naval air station at Kanoeohe Bay on their way to primary target at Pearl Harbor. Despite being wounded by bullets and shrapnel, he kept firing and reloading for more than two hours, then refused to be evacuated. His leadership and courage gave heart to dazed sailors to begin defending themselves against a new enemy.

"It was only by specific orders that he was persuaded to leave and seek first aid," according to Medal of Honor citation. "Following treatment, in much pain, moving with difficulty, he returned to the squadron area and actively supervised the re-arming of returning planes."

You are not forgotten, Lt. Finn.

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