LT John Williams Finn

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The December 7, 1941, Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor lasted about 90 minutes, killing 2,333 American military personnel and wounding 1,139 others.

The initial targets were U.S. airfields, to prevent a U.S. counter-attack by air.  The first Medal of Honor awarded in World War II went to a sailor who defended one of those airfields.  His name was John William Finn.

Born on July 24, 1909 in Los Angeles, California, Finn was a then-32-year-old chief petty officer in charge of guns and bombs for the planes at Naval Air Station Keneohe Bay. Once he learned of the attack he raced from his home and wife to the base.

Finn’s Medal of Honor citation states: “During the first attack by Japanese airplanes he promptly secured and manned a .50 caliber machine gun mounted on an instruction stand in a completely exposed section of the parking ramp, which was under heavy enemy machine gun strafing fire.

“Although painfully wounded many times, (shot in foot and shoulder) he continued to man this gun and to return the enemy’s fire vigorously and with telling effect throughout the enemy strafing and bombing attacks and with complete disregard for his own personal safety.”

Finn had to be ordered to go for medical treatment and his wounds kept him in the hospital until Dec. 24.

Admiral Chester Nimitz presented Finn with the first World War II Medal of Honor 75 years ago on Sept. 14, 1942.

Finn served in the Navy from 1926 to 1956 and retired as a lieutenant. He lived to the age of 100 before he died in Chula Vista in 2010.

We honor you, John Finn.

(#Repost @The OC Register)

Emmy Lu Daly

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Emmy Lu Daly spent two years in the Navy surrounded by ship parts, but she never saw a ship. Or the ocean, for that matter. She worked at a naval supply depot in Clearfield, Utah, checking inventory and shipping out materials during and after World War II.

She joined the Navy at 21, largely because everyone else around her was doing something to help the war cause. She wanted to contribute, too. She trained to be a yeoman, or Navy secretary, but she never did do clerical work, which she says she didn’t mind. When the war ended and she left the military, she attended school on the GI Bill. She went on to work as a legal secretary, then got into the insurance business.

While living in the Armed Forces Retirement Home, she has met a number of people who spent their lives in the military, and the weight of their service and sacrifice strikes her.

“A whole lot of the people here are career people, people who’ve been in it, and I’m humbled before them with my two years,” she said. “And I’ve only been here six months, and I’m deeply grateful to be here. I’ve learned a whole lot at 94.”

We honor you, Emmy Lu Daly.

(#Repost @WHYY.org)

RDML Burton Hale Shepherd

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Rear Admiral Burton H. Shepherd, who during his military career, as a commander, was strike leader of Attack Carrier Air Wing 16.

Oct. 26, 1967, 18 aircrafts set out on a mission to destroy a heavily defended thermal power plant in Hanoi. For this and other acts of bravery during this mission, Shepherd received the Navy Cross.

That citation was read at Monday’s Glenmoor salute by Shepherd’s son, Michael, a resident of Ponte Vedra Beach. In part, it states: “After proceeding expeditiously to the coast to refuel, Commander Shepherd returned to an area south of the target to search for one of his missing strike pilots. Continuing the search for over an hour over enemy terrain in the face of the most concentrated enemy fire in North Vietnam, he finally returned to the coast after reaching a low fuel state.”

The missing pilot who had been shot down was John McCain, now a U.S. senator.

We honor you, Burton Shepherd.

(#Repost @The St. Augustine Record)

MSG Rosebud Archer

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Growing up in New Jersey, Rosebud Archer had a nickname: the “Little Mayor of Plainfield.” She was well known for her community involvement in that city, where she went to the local nursery once a week to read to children and helped plan outdoor youth programs at City Hall.

The octogenarian recalls her mother emphasizing to her and her siblings that it was their job to help people who were less fortunate than they were. That directive came from a widow who worked 16 hours a day to provide for her six children after their father suffered a heart attack and died. Archer was 8 when she lost her dad.

The inherited sense of duty coupled with her family connection to the military (her uncles and brothers served) led Archer to join the Navy, where she earned a Good Conduct Medal. She served from 1952-56, during which she traveled and performed with a naval entertainment troupe, worked in a photography lab, helped in the education office and eventually became a flight attendant. She later joined the Army, where she became a master sergeant and served until 1993.

No matter which job she was doing, she was known to go above and beyond.

“When I got a promotion, nobody wanted to take my job,” Archer recalled. “They said, ‘Wow, we didn’t know you had to do all of this’ … and I was doing it all by myself.”

We honor you, Rosebud Archer.

(Submission by: Ninzel Rasmuson. #Repost @WHYY)

LT Bradley Warren Snyder

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Bradley Warren Snyder was born in Reno, Nevada to Michael and Valarie Snyder. He swam while attending Northeast High School in St. Petersburg, Florida. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2006 with a degree in naval architecture; while there, he was captain of the swim team.

Snyder eventually became a lieutenant in the Navy, and served in Afghanistan as an explosive ordnance disposal officer. In September 2011, he lost both of his eyes after stepping on an IED in an attempt to help victims of another bombing. The explosion also gave him lacerations to his face and a shattered eardrum. Snyder subsequently spent three weeks in intensive care, and then recovered for another five weeks in Florida. He explained, “When you’re kind of patching your life back together and figuring out how to adjust to blindness, you’re not good at anything. Walking was a challenge. Cooking’s a challenge. Dressing and color matching is a challenge. There are all these things that used to be no problem that are all of a sudden really challenging. I had a hard time getting the right amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush, because I can’t see it.”

He joined the US Paralympic team and competed at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London and the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio. Snyder won two Gold medals and one Silver at London and three Gold and one Silver at Rio.

We honor you, Bradley Snyder.

(Submission by: Laura Moe-Genther. #Repost @Wikipedia)

RDML Annie Andrews

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Rear Adm. Annie Andrews assumed command of Navy Recruiting Command Aug. 29, 2013.

As a Navy Human Resources officer her assignments have been in the areas of manpower, personnel, training and education. Andrews began her career at Naval Station Whiting Field, Milton, Florida, with assignments to Training Air Wing 5, as assistant admin officer, and Helicopter Training Squadron 8, as Flight Simulator coordinator. Her next assignment was at the Joint Intelligence Center Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii, as an intelligence analyst. Other assignments and staff assignments included director, Counseling and Assistance Center, Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland; officer-in-charge, Navy Personnel Support Activity Detachments Subic Bay and Cubi Point, United States Forces Philippines, Republic of the Philippines; branch head, Deserter Branch/Deserter Apprehension Program (PERS-842), Washington, D.C.; and chief, Requirements Branch and Joint Manpower Planner, Manpower and Personnel Directorate Joint Staff, J-1 in Washington, D.C. She served as executive assistant and naval aide to the assistant secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserves Affairs in Washington, D.C., and was a senior fellow on the chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group (SSG XXX) at the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island. Andrews most recently served as the director of Total Force Requirements Division (OPNAV N12).

Andrews served as commanding officer of: Boston Military Entrance Processing Station Navy Recruiting District San Francisco, and Recruit Training Command (RTC), Great Lakes. During her tour at RTC, she led the training efforts of over 100,000 Sailors for duty in the Fleet and was instrumental in the commissioning of the Navy’s only immersive simulator trainer, the USS Trayer also known as Battle Stations 21.

Andrews earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Savannah State University, and a Master of Science Degree in Management from Troy State University. She has been conferred an honorary doctorate degree in Humane Letters from Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Her military education includes a master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the College of Naval Command and Staff, Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, and she is a graduate of the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk. She is designated as a joint qualified officer.

Andrews’ decorations include: the Legion of Merit (three awards); Defense Meritorious Service Medal (two awards); Meritorious Service Medal; Joint Service Commendation Medal; Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three awards); Joint Service Achievement Medal, and various other unit citations.

We honor you, Annie Andrews.

(#Repost @America’s Navy)

PO2 James Nappier Jr.

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James Nappier’s persistence and devotion to serving his country resulted in the improbable scenario of a man in his 40s with a grown child enlisting in–and being accepted by–the Navy’s Seabees. By virtue of his six years in the Marines beginning when he had dropped out of high school, Nappier’s real age was knocked down to just under the upper limit for eligibility. This was in 2000, when no one had any idea of military deployments to a war in the Middle East. In Iraq, Nappier kept volunteering for the most dangerous missions, figuring he was saving one younger man with young children from harm’s way.

We honor you, James Nappier Jr.

(#Repost @Veteran’s History Project)