On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, 32-year-old John Finn lay in bed with his wife, Alice, not far from the Kaneohe Bay Naval Air Station near Pearl Harbor, where he served as chief ordnance man. He saw a plane flash by his bedroom window, then another one. And then he heard machine guns, and knew something was very wrong. He jumped out of bed and hurried to dress.
“Those goddamn Japs. I should have hated ‘em. The bastards screwed up my nooky on a Sunday morning,” Finn told an interviewer years later.
Finn rushed to the air station, arriving as a squadron of Japanese Zeros were strafing the flight line. With no antiaircraft guns deployed at the base, sailors were forced to try to defend themselves and the station with machine guns on the runway.
“As he stood out on the runway firing his .30 caliber, Finn was peppered by pieces of shrapnel as the diving planes strafed the concrete runways with 20 m cannon.
“I actually counted. I got shot in the left arm and shot in the left foot,