President Obama Hosts Medal of Honor Recipient in White House

John W. Finn is the oldest living recipient of the Medal of Honor from World War II. He was also the first World War II veteran to receive the Medal. Mr. Finn is 99 years old, but still lives on his ranch and receives some care-giving help.

Although Medal of Honor recipients are generally presented the Medal by the President, Mr. Finn was presented the Medal by Adm. Chester Nimitz and thus was never visited the White House when he received the Medal. When President Obama heard that he had never been to the White House, he invited Mr. Finn for a private tour.

Then-chief petty officer Mr. Finn earned his Medal during the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was asleep when on the morning of December 7 when the wife of a fellow soldier pounded on his door to alert him of the attack. Mr. Finn immediately headed for the launching ramps. He set up a .50 caliber machinegun and started firing at the Japanese planes. He stayed there for over two hours though he was hit by shrapnel 21 times and a bullet had passed through his foot. After medical treatment he returned to supervise the rearming of the remaining American planes.

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