John Finn, RIP


Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 1 - 20 of total 25 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Topic Author's Original Post - May 27, 2010 - 08:28pm PT
So, you think climbers are tough?
You think climbers are bold?

On December 7, 1941 when the japanese attacked Pearl Harbor John Finn commandeered a fifty caliber and shot back. He sat out in the open on a runway with Ma Deuce for 2 hours ignoring the wounds of 21 pieces of shrapnel and a bullet through his foot and the numbness of his left arm and gave the dozens of jap planes flying overhead what for.

I always enjoyed the feistiness he showed in the interviews the History Channel aired.

Born in 1909, our oldest Medal Of Honor awardee passed on today. There are 90 left alive.

RIP John.

(and the rest of you might remember what this holiday weekend is really about)
jack herer

Veneta, Oregon
May 27, 2010 - 09:06pm PT

This was my great uncle, he was the first person from California to receive the Medal of Honor. At the time of his death he too was the oldest living Medal of Honor awardee.

Thanks for the memory. Cheers.

Way out there....
May 27, 2010 - 10:25pm PT
Except for the part about the j*ps.....
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Topic Author's Reply - May 27, 2010 - 10:34pm PT
they attacked without having declared war. They strafed men in the water.
I'd like to think that at least one of the 29 planes that didn't make it back to the carriers was John's work.

Trad climber
Sunny Aiea,Hi
May 27, 2010 - 10:35pm PT
I did a field trip to the Arizona and we had a PH survivor speak to us for about 15 minutes, the rest of the day was a blur but to hear this guy named Weatherwax share about his 12/7/41 was something special.
Its an honor to teach history about a mile down the road from Pearl Harbor.


Social climber
May 27, 2010 - 10:42pm PT
hey there say... my dad never talks much about anything with us.. but once, for some reason, on some subject, he told us about an uncle of his (think it was, or a cousin? no, think it was uncle) that was shot down somewhere... :(

god bless to all those that had to fight when they'd rather have been hugging their family... and such, and loving peace, but stood to help others instead...

Credit: neebee

Credit: neebee

god bless to all the families, at this time of rememberance...

Trad climber
not very much, recently.
May 27, 2010 - 10:49pm PT
Thanks Ron, for helping us remember what this day is really all about.

As I've noted before, my wife's father's cousin was on the Vestal, which was docked next to the Arizona. He's still very much alive today (in his 90's) a wonderfully spirited man and an inspiration to our family. After what he experienced, he is still one of the most kind, gracious, and positive people I've ever met in my life.

Hopefully we can all take a moment to pause and give thanks to all of those who gave their lives then... and throughout history up until this very day.


Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
May 28, 2010 - 11:42am PT
Today's LA Times:

In this Dec. 7, 2006, photo, John Finn salutes at the groundbreaking c...
In this Dec. 7, 2006, photo, John Finn salutes at the groundbreaking ceremony for the USS Oklahoma memorial at Pearl Harbor. (Lucy Pemoni / Associated Press)

Credit: Lucy Pemoni / AP

"I can't believe this," Finn told the more than 500 people who gathered last year at a local diner to celebrate his birthday. "All I ever was was an old swab jockey.... What I did I was being paid for.",0,5720051.story
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Topic Author's Reply - May 28, 2010 - 12:23pm PT
A tough old bird. If you want to see what made this country great one need look no farther.

Social climber
way out there
May 30, 2010 - 02:59pm PT
We are all blessed by those that have defended our country.

But ""what it's all about"?

Memorial day started after the civil war with southern women noticing no one taking care of the Union graves at Shilo. Those women took it upon themselves to honor all our country's dead, from both the north and the south.

From our own great war came the idea to honor all who have defended our country.

Trad climber
May 31, 2010 - 12:52am PT
Cheers to John Finn and many others.

Trad climber
san diego
May 31, 2010 - 02:45am PT
Thanks, John Finn...Bad Azz Extraordinaire!!

RIP Big Fella!

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
May 31, 2010 - 04:42am PT
My dad was 19 years old when he was captured during the Little Battle of the Bulge near Rimling, France in early January 1945. His platoon was surrounded by Germans and he volunteered to go back through the enemy lines to get help. He ended up in a prison of war camp named Berga. When he was liberated five months later he weighed 88 pounds (he is 6'2" tall). He received the Silver Star for his actions in trying to get help for his platoon.

In the last 15 years it has come to light that the prison of war camp, Berga, where my dad was held was supposed to hold Jewish-American POW's. The POW's were subjected to the same treatment of the Nazi death camps. The mortality rate at Berga was three times that of any other POW camp. PBS did a special on the camp in 2003 called "Berga: Soldiers of Another War." There have been several books written about the camp "Given Up For Dead: American GIs in the Nazi Concentration Camp at Berga" and "Soldiers and Slaves: American POWs Trapped by the Nazis' Final Gamble."


May 31, 2010 - 06:20am PT
Stories of CMH recipients are unbelievably compelling. My buddy's grandfather won a CMH for throwing himself on two (!) grenades in the South Pacific, saving a number of other soldiers. Luckily only one grenade went off, and he was wearing a flak vest. He survived, albeit all fecked up. My buddy got to attend a gathering of living CMH recipients with his grandfather, and the stories these guys have to tell are amazing. Real heroes.


PS--But I agree there is no need to resort to bigoted language 60 years after the fact, even when honoring and memorializing our own heroes.

Trad climber
Colorado Springs, Colorado
May 31, 2010 - 08:44am PT
The word "jap" is simply a shortening of the word "Japanese." The Aussies call us seppos. So what? Waaaahmbulance.

May 31, 2010 - 08:56am PT
I know the origin of the term, along with a host of similar terms. All I'm saying it it's unnecessary.

Talk like that and you better be ready to throw down, at least with some of the folks I know.

If getting that sort of reaction is your intention then fair enough. I'll still take exception to it but if you are trying to start a fight in the world, using racial slurs and such is a pretty good way to go about it.

However, assuming that is not your intention--and although I am sure he can handle himself in a tussle, I'm under the impression that Ron is not like that (he seems like a good guy to me)--then you should probably can that sort of language.


EDIT: Since my intent here is not to escalate things, as so often happens in these "discussions," I'll just point out that the aim of my post was to alert Ron to what I suspect was an unintended effect of his post.

Back to honoring the folks we should be honoring today...
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Topic Author's Reply - May 31, 2010 - 10:04am PT
I don't think "japs" or even "nips" is pejorative in and of itself.
They are merely contractions of acceptable terms.

Granted, there were vast cultural differences between our nations, but the japanese in WWII behaved more inhumanely than any of our other enemies. They brutalized prisoners and even their own code, Bushido, dictates that if you surprise a foe who is asleep you wake him and give him a sword. Pearl Harbor was hardly such a case.

If I had said "slant eyed yellow devils" perhaps gripes would be in order, but "japs"???

"How many raps did you make to get off?"
"I'm offended by that term. You need to say rappels." LOL
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
May 31, 2010 - 12:05pm PT
War is bad and political correctness is for another thread.

Today we honor people like John Finn. Brave bold men who fight hard and die.

I would die for:

My kids.
My wife.
To save my belay partner.
Other people in general.
Probably freedom and justice.

But I like to think most likely, the person or people threatening these would die first.

Who or what would you die for?
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Topic Author's Reply - May 31, 2010 - 12:31pm PT
Yeah, men joined up for an assortment of reasons, and often their first taste of combat was a sobering dose of reality. Politics evaporated and men fought to protect their buddies.
It was a crucible to which even climbing pales in comparison.

Men such as Finn showed the metal of what this country was made of but also inspired his fellow soldiers.
Yes, we should honor them today, as we should on all days.

As for 10910 trolling me as a bigot, yeah right.
We could trade incidents all day.
The aspect I alluded to was that in our fight with the japanese their abysmal treatment of prisoners dictated a war in which no quarter was given or expected.

Perhaps the concept of honor in war is paradoxical, but it appeals to my sense of ethical order.

Social climber
The other "Magic City on the Plains"
May 31, 2010 - 06:02pm PT
In memorial,
Lance Cpl. Thomas (Tommie) Jenkins III
KIA Iraq
Messages 1 - 20 of total 25 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks

Try a free sample topo!

SuperTopo on the Web

Recent Trip Report and Articles
Recent Route Beta
Recent Gear Reviews