Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Ensign John William Finn

Portrait of Ensign John William Finn
Description: Drawing, Conté Crayon on Paper; by McClelland Barclay; 1943; Unframed Dimensions 17H X 14W
Accession #: 85-236-X
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"Mickey" "Slingblote" NATTCTR Norman Oklahoma
Now Ensign John William Finn, USN, formerly Aviation Chief Ordinance Man - since 1935
Joined Navy 17 years - July 1926 of Los Angeles Cal. - 5'9" - weight 155 lb

"I see these old meatballs on the bottom of 'em - this is the real McCoy it's the God damn Japs." 

Kaneohe - Dec. 7th 1941 -- Directed and pointed out duties to whatever men were handy. 

"All were eager to fight but some didn't know what to do. I came out of the armory out of the hanger and there was Little Peterson [draw him] wide eyed like saucers, firing with his 30 cal machine gun right over the top of 'Bucky's' head (Bucky Walter from Sallisaw Oklahoma, half Irish, half Indian) so I moved Peters' machine gun out so he wouldn't shoot Bucky's head off - a great big guy and we needed him. Then I loaded for Pete a couple of times and then put someone else on Pete's gun." 

Where were you wounded first? 

"I was firing a 50 cal. and the Japs would come in strafing. They'd come right down the machine gun barrell [sic] it seemed, firing their 20 mm cannon and 30 cal. By that time all the planes we had were destroyed and on fire. I believe they hit me first in the right thumb and left forearm. I remember I had to reach over with my right arm because my left wouldn't work." 

How many times were you hit? 

"The doctor said 19 holes in me - arms, belly, feet, head graze - mostly small fragment of 20 mm shells." 

Unsung hero - Alfred Dominic Perucci, hometown Worcester Mass - naval Ammunition depot S.W. Australia - "He got the ball rolling before I ever got there. He rescued guys off burning airplanes that people told me were dead so I forgot about 'em. They were in PBYs moored in the bay."

Congressional Medal of Honor - Sept 1942 - Look up citation - public relations

[The bellicose text is typical of the period - NHHC PAO]

Document Type
  • Art
Wars & Conflicts
  • World War II 1939-1945
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Location of Archival Materials