Consider that this is Memorial Day weekend.
With a biretta tip to Sancte Pater this from the San Diego Union Tribune.
John Finn, hero at Pearl Harbor, dies at 100
Ex-sailor was oldest living Medal of Honor recipient
By Blanca Gonzalez, UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
Originally published May 27, 2010
John Finn, the oldest living Medal of Honor recipient, whose modest demeanor and lifestyle belied his legendary status as an American hero, died Thursday at age 100 at a Chula Vista veterans home.
He was assigned to Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay on Dec. 7, 1941, when he found himself firing at Japanese planes from an exposed position for more than two hours despite being hit 21 times by bomb and bullet fragments.
The longtime East County resident was credited by some with single-handedly shooting down a Japanese aircraft, but he would later say, “I can’t honestly say (for sure) I hit any, but I shot at every damn plane I could see.”
He was believed to be one of the first Americans to take up arms against the Japanese when they bombed the naval base and nearby Pearl Harbor, an attack that brought the United States into World War II.
During the attack, Finn secured a .50-caliber machine gun mounted on a training stand in an exposed section of the parking ramp, which was under heavy machine-gun fire from Japanese planes, the citation says.
It continues, “Although painfully wounded many times, he continued to man this gun and to return the enemy’s fire vigorously and with telling effect throughout the enemy strafing and bombing attacks and with complete disregard for his own personal safety.”
Finn didn’t leave his post until getting a direct order to seek medical attention. He later said that when he got to the sick bay, he saw many men worse off than he was, so he returned to the armory and spent the rest of the day and night supervising the repair of damaged weapons in preparation for whatever came next.
“I know this sounds corny, but on December 7, I was just doing my duty and what I had been trained and paid to do since I was 17 years old,” he said in his 1984 San Diego Union interview.