National Geographic : 1991 Dec
ra " a "11116 John Finn, ground-crew chief Yamamoto's "eagles of the "so thick in places you could t"-his carrier pilots-warm almost walk on it," said a up Zero fighters (above) for the Japanese pilot. second wave. Their mission: To Mounting a machine gun on run interference for the bomb- IIU a makeshiftl stand, Finn kept ers launched after them. With shooting during both waves, few U. S. planes in the air, Zero although his body "stopped a lot pilots were free to concentrate of shrapnel." One of his last hits on strafing ground targets. But may have been Lt. Fusata Iida, at Kaneohe Naval Air Station who dived his disabled plane tho met unexpected .". .~ toward his attackers and from men like chief aviation crashed into a hillside, one of 64 ordnanceman John Finn. Japanese to die that day. Finn. The base had ybeen an limited f n,.aYlly checke1d , into a hospital alert for a month, with pat of £ U. S. NAVY with wounds in his stomach, planes kept fueled and fury cheat arms, and foot. "It was armed. Surprised by the first wanted to shoot every damned not mmy day to die," he scian. wave of attack planes, men plane out of the sky," Finn Finn received the esteemed yanked some machine guns and recalls. Caught without gun Medal of Honorfor "extraordi ammunition from parked mounts, defenders braced their nary heroism" in a ceremony planes before Japanese incendi- 30-caliber weapons on timbers, attended by his wife, Alice (left), ary bullets set the aircraft afire. picked up pistols and shotguns, who witnessed the Kaneohe "I was so hopping mad; I and ripped off antiaircraft t fare attack from their living quarters.