NBC and The Medal of Honor

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by Njaco, Nov 5, 2007.

  1. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Feb 19, 2007
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    Apparently NBC News, in honor of veterans day, is starting a new section of its newscast focusing on Medal of Honor winners. Tonight's was on John Finn, the oldest living MoH winner for his actions on Dec. 7, 1941. It was the first time I saw this even though it may have been running for awhile. I thought it was a pretty good thing.

    Medal of Honor Recipients - The Daily Nightly - msnbc.com

    Every weekday for 110 straight days we will feature a different living recipient of the Medal of Honor. These are the men who have received their nation's highest military honor. Brian is a board member of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation. The words and photos are courtesy of Artisan Books, publishers of Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty by Peter Collier with photographs by Nick Del Calzo.


    We knew we had a special story when we saw the sign at the top of a long dirt road. It was then, and this really isn't overstating it, that we drove into another world. In the mountains outside San Diego, small mounds of artifacts appeared before us: old cars, windows, metal signs. It was as if we had walked onto some elaborate set from years and years ago.

    The NBC News team had come to meet and record the story of a Medal of Honor recipient -- the oldest living one, in fact, and one who defended his country on the day F.D.R said would live in infamy. What lay before us, though, was so much more than just that history. It was 98 years of one man's life.

    John Finn walked slowly and methodically with two canes down a dusty trail. The early morning light hit this veteran just right. I felt for a moment I was meeting him in another era. The pieces around him were right out of the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, all of them looking beautiful and tragic in the ways that everyday items like refrigerators and ovens do when time has left them behind. But that was the last silent moment of the day.

    Mr. Finn is a talker. A professional talker, the kind of talker that takes 30 minutes just to warm up. But when he talks, you want to hear the stories he tells. They are compelling, these memories of another era, when guys had nicknames like Sully, and Beauty Martin.

    So far, in his 98 years, Finn has been a sailor, ordnance man, mechanic, machinest, and hero. But it's very clear that 98 years has not been nearly enough time for him.

    His heroism and courage on December 7th, 1941 is one for the history books. The man behind those qualities is just as amazing, as you'll see tonight.

    (there was no text from the MSNBC website so I'm gonna substitute from another..)
    U.S. Navy World War II Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient Lt. John William Finn

    In 1941, Finn was stationed in Kaneohe Bay, Territory of Hawaii with VP-41 squadron. His actions in Hawaii that day put him on the map at NTC. On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, he left his quarters and manned a.50 caliber machine gun mounted in an exposed section of a parking ramp.

    During the 15-minute ordeal (which he said felt like hours), he fired upon the enemy and reports indicated he had single-handedly shot down one Japanese aircraft killing the pilot.

    A somewhat modest man, Finn believes the downing was the collective actions of all the men that morning, but because his gun was under heavy enemy machine gun fire and he was severely wounded, he received the Medal of Honor, our nation's highest medal.

    Although Finn sustained approximately 21 wound marks throughout his body, he didn't think he was seriously wounded.

    "There was shrapnel in my chest and abdomen and I spent 14 days in sick bay," he told Hoist. Nine months later, Adm. Chester Nimitz awarded Finn his Medal of Honor in ceremonies on board USS Enterprise. His citation was signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. During that ceremony, 25 other men were presented the Medal of Honor. Also in attendance was Admiral "Bull" Halsey.

    In June 1942, Finn was temporarily commissioned as an Ensign, rising in rank to Lieutenant two years later. During his service as an officer, he served with Bombing Squadron 102, at several stateside training facilities and on board the aircraft carrier Hancock (CV-19). Following transfer to the Fleet Reserve in March 1947, he reverted to the enlisted rate of Chief Aviation Ordnanceman. In September 1956, he was placed on the Retired List in the rank of Lieutenant.

    The Honolulu Advertiser ran a front page story and photo of Finn with Nimitz and Halsey. Nimitz was quoted as saying 'The 25 who are to receive awards today have earned them in a diversity of tasks symbolic of the Pacific Fleet's tremendous responsibilities. We all know that the whole fleet would be no less ready to rise to extraordinary occasions ... Finn's magnificent courage in the face of almost certain death helped repel the Japanese attack ... His complete disregard for his own life, in staying with his machine gun, although many times wounded, is the kind of American fighting spirit necessary to victory."

    In addition to the Medal of Honor, Finn earned the Purple Heart Medal; American Defense Service Medal, base clasp; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; World War 11 Victory Medal; and the Navy Occupation Service Medal, Asia Clasp. For enlisted service, he has a Good Conduct Medal with two bronze stars.

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