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Oldest Medal of Honor recipient from WWII dies at age 100

SAN DIEGO - Retired Navy Lt. John Finn, the oldest Medal of Honor recipient from World War II, died today at a Chula Vista retirement home at the age of 100.

Finn, who had lived in Live Oak Springs for more than 50 years, died early this morning at the Chula Vista Veterans Home, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

''We lost a national treasure and a national hero today,'' Navy Capt. David Lepard told NBC 7/39. ''It's really touching his death occurred on Memorial Day weekend and he'll never be forgotten.''

In a statement, President Barack Obama, who met Finn at the White House last year, said he was ''deeply saddened'' to learn of his passing.

''Like many of those who have served our nation with such distinction, Lt. Finn often said that he never intended to be a hero,'' the president said. ''Instead, he felt that he was simply doing his duty. But his modestly does not diminish his extraordinary conduct -- or the incredible example he has set for our men and women in uniform and for all Americans.''

Finn received the Medal of Honor on Sept. 15, 1942, from President Franklin D. Roosevelt for heroism during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

During the Dec. 7, 1941, attack, Finn manned a machine gun and began firing from an exposed location on Japanese aircraft, suffering serious wounds in the process.

Finn was born July 23, 1909, in Los Angeles and enlisted in the Navy just before his 17th birthday. He served as an aviation ordnanceman and later as a limited duty officer specializing in anti-aircraft guns in San Diego, Hawaii, Washington, Panama and aboard aircraft carriers, according to the Navy.

Finn retired from the Navy in 1956 after 30 years of service, but remained active with organizations supporting naval aviation.

Funeral plans are pending, but Finn will be buried with full military honors on the Campo Indian Reservation, where his wife is buried, according to NBC 7/39.


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