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Finch I (AM-9)

(AM-9: dp. 950 (n.); l. 187'10"; b. 35'6"; dr. 10'4"; s. 14k.; cpl. 78; a. 2 3")

A family of small or moderate-sized singing birds. (AM-9 was named for the bird.)


Joseph Warren Finch, Jr., born 8 March 1920 in Chicago, Ill., was appointed ensign in the Naval Reserve 28 May 1941. He was killed in action in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, 13 November 1942, when his ship Laffey (DD-459) was sunk. Lieutenant (junior grade) Finch shared posthumously in the Presidential Unit Citation awarded his ship for its outstanding performance in action against the Japanese in the southwest Pacific from 15 September until its loss. (DD-328 is named in his honor.)


The first Finch (AM-9) was launched 30 March 1918 by Standard Shipbuilding Co., New York, N.Y.; sponsored by Mrs. F. G. Peabody; and commissioned 10 September 1918, Lieutenant J. C. Lindberg in command.

After training and operations with a submarine bell, Finch sailed from New York 9 August 1919 for Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland. Here she based for 2 months of duty removing the vast number of mines laid in the North Sea during World War I. Finch returned to Charleston 29 November 1920, and on 3 January 1920 sailed for San Pedro, Calif., where from 1 March to 29 August she was in reduced commission. Modernized, she sailed from San Francisco 20 August 1921 for duty with the Asiatic Fleet, and for the next 20 years, served in the Philippines in the winter and out of the China base at Chefoo in the summer. Her duties were varied, and included towing and salvage work, as well as participation in the Yangtze River Patrol. She joined in fleet exercises, and as war tension heightened, played a part in protecting American citizens and interests in the Far East.

In 1941, she began work in intensive development exercises with submarine and mine groups in the Philippines, and as war came closer, spent December on patrol in the Taiwan Straits. On 9 April 1942, while moored at the eastern point of Corregidor, Finch was damaged by the near miss of a Japanese bomb, her seams opening and fragments of the bomb piercing her hull. The entire crew landed safely, and Finch was abandoned to sink the next day, 10 April 1942.

Finch received one battle star for World War II service.

Published: Wed Jul 08 11:40:32 EDT 2015