Truman Sailors Pay Respects to Medal of Honor Recipient

Story Number: NNS100629-09Release Date: 6/29/2010 1:37:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonnie Hobby, USS Harry S. Truman Public Affairs

USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Aviation ordnancemen from Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group gathered on the flight deck June 28 to pay their respects to a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient.

Lt. John Finn, a former chief aviation ordnanceman, was awarded the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions when he manned a .50-caliber machinegun to defend his comrades from the incoming attack from Japanese planes on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941.

Revered as a hero among Navy and Marine Corps aviation ordnancemen, Finn recently passed away at the age of 100 May 27.

"To be a master of your trade and defending your country in a time of crisis is admirable," said Chief Warrant Officer Eric E. Richmond. "How could you not idolize a person like that? Our ordnancemen community is very small. We all have a great bond, and John Finn is our idol."

Richmond and several other ordnancemen aboard Truman met Finn several times while stationed in California.

"Even at 100 years old, he'd still have a drink with us," said Senior Chief Aviation Ordnanceman (AW/SW) Brian Schultz, leading chief petty officer of G-3. "We would visit him often to make sure he was okay, and cut wood for him in the winter so he and his wife could stay warm."

In spite of winning such a prestigious military award, Finn was humble.

"You'd think somebody who received a Medal of Honor would have a pretty big ego," said Richmond. "That wasn't John Finn. He was as down-to-earth as any other person. Everything you could possibly read about this man was true. He was the most humble person I've ever met in my life."

"One day I asked him if I could see the Medal of Honor," Richmond said. "He said, 'Well, I got it from some guy named Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I handed it to my wife and I don't know what the heck she did with it. I ain't seen it since.'"

Crew members also took the time to honor the brother of Chief Aviation Ordnancemen (AW/SW) Charity Morgan, a U.S. Army Staff Sgt. who was recently killed by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan.

Truman flew two flags from the mast to honor both fallen service members. A group photo of all the enlisted and officer aviation ordnancemen, in formation with the leadership of Carrier Strike Group 10, USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) and Carrier Air Wing 3 will be presented along with the national ensigns to the Flynn and Morgan families.

"It makes me feel very proud that he was an Ordie" said Aviation Ordnanceman Airman John Tafoya, one of Truman's G-3 division Sailors. "We learned about John Finn in A-School. He's a hero to the Ordies, and I think he's the biggest thing that happened to our rate."

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