American Grit Stories

John W. Finn: Guns Blazing 5/5 (1)

Pearl Harbor was horrific. The surprise, the brutality, it wrought havoc on the U.S. Navy stationed at Pearl Harbor. However, John W. Finn wasn’t phased at all. The planes flying overhead only meant one thing to John. He needed to get to a gun and fast. The chief aviation ordnanceman found a machine gun and started filling the skies with lead.

As the attack raged on John W. Finn fearlessly waged a one-man war against the attacking aerial fleet. Despite overwhelming odds being stacked against him. The Chief rallied on. Wounded still he continued to fight. The Japanese planes constantly strafed his position. His position…exposed unarmored. It was him and the .50 caliber machine gun versus hordes of enemy attackers. Time and time again the attackers hit him, with rounds.

Try as they may, they were not able to convince him to leave. It was only after he was forcefully ordered to seek medical attention that he left his post that had devastating effect on the enemy. They thought they’d see little fight from the Americans. They thought the surprise would catch us totally off guard and they’d be…relatively safe from any sort of counterattack we could launch. They were wrong.

John W. Finn

After John W. Finn received some…semblance of medical attention, he didn’t stay long for follow-on care. No John W. Finn was not that kind of man, he wasn’t that kind of sailor. He returned to the airfield. This time he became a different type of force multiplier. He ensured that all returning planes were properly rearmed to again take the fight to the Japanese.

Whatever the Navy needed John W. Finn to do, he did.

He manned a .50 caliber Machine gun inspiring those around him to fight.

He helped with the rearming of aircraft to take the fight to the enemy.

Whatever was necessary in the time of need, John W. Finn did.

For his actions on that day, John W. Finn was awarded the Medal of Honor.

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The Author

John Fannin

John Fannin

John spent four years as a 0351, Infantry Assaulltman in the United States Marine Corps. He deployed twice to the city of Ramadi, Iraq with 3rd Battalion 7th Marines. After leaving the Marine Corps in 2008 John pursued a degree in Kinesiology from Texas Lutheran University. During his time at TLU, John was fortunate enough to play football for a year and serve the local community as a volunteer firefighter. After graduating John worked as a personal trainer for few years before coming to work at American Grit. John is also the proud owner of a great beard.