100 year old Medal of Honor recipient downplays talk of heroism
The citation for his Medal of Honor tells that part of his story:
"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. It was only by specific orders that he was persuaded to leave his post to seek medical attention. Following first-aid treatment, although obviously suffering much pain and moving with great difficulty, he returned to the squadron area and actively supervised the rearming of returning planes," the citation stated.
With Japanese still attacking, getting his wounds treated wasn't a priority, Finn said.
"Medical help comes later. If you're busy shooting a machine gun or a rifle or a pistol or doing anything, you can't worry about getting medical attention," he explained.
Less than a year later, Finn, out of the hospital and recovered from his wounds, was back on duty with the Navy in Hawaii. Adm. Chester Nimitz presented Finn with the Medal of Honor for his bravery, joining the ranks of the men, and one woman, recognized with the nation's highest award for heroism.
These days most medals are awarded at the White House, but with the war heating up, such a long trip was out of the question. In fact, his first visit to the White House came in the spring when President Obama invited him for a visit.
Back at his ranch, Finn bristled when asked about being called a "hero."
"That damned hero stuff is a bunch crap, I guess. Well, it is one thing that I think any man that is in that, you gotta be in that position," Finn said. "You gotta understand that there's all kinds of heroes, but they never get a chance to be in a hero's position."
Fewer than 100 men who have received the Medal of Honor are alive today. More than half of them are expected in Chicago this week for the annual Congressional Medal of Honor Society Convention. But because they are all veterans of World War II, Korea or Vietnam, their ranks are shrinking every year.
Oldest Medal of Honor recipient, 100, downplays 'hero' talk - CNN.com