Medal of Honor Recipients
for Pearl Harbor

Mervyn Sharp Bennion
Mervyn S. Bennion

MERVYN SHARP BENNION
May 5, 1887 - December 7, 1941

Rank and organization: Captain, U. S. Navy
Appointed from: Utah
Years of service: 1910-1941
Commanded: USS West Virginia
Died: killed during attack on Pearl Harbor
Awards: Medal of Honor, Awarded Posthumously
Mervyn Sharp Bennion (5 May 1887 – 7 December 1941) was an officer in the United States Navy who died during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Born in Vernon, Utah on 5 May 1887, Bennion graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1910. An ordnance specialist, Captain Bennion was killed in action during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941, while in command of the battleship West Virginia (BB-48). Captain Bennion was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor citation: "For conspicuous devotion to duty, extraordinary courage, and complete disregard of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty, during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, by Japanese forces on 7 December 1941. As Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. West Virginia, after being mortally wounded, Capt. Bennion evidenced apparent concern only in fighting and saving his ship, and strongly protested against being carried from the bridge.
Captain Bennion was disembowelled by shrapnel from a bomb that blew up part of his command deck. Using one arm to hold his wounds closed, he bled to death while still commanding his crew. His actions saved the West Virginia from sinking and earned him the Medal of Honor."

Other Posthumous Honor: In 1943, the destroyer, USS Bennion (DD-662) was named in his honor.
   

John W. Finn wearing his medal of honor
John W. Finn wearing his
Medal of Honor

JOHN WILLIAM FINN
July 23, 1909 - May 27, 2010
Rank and organization: Lieutenant, U.S. Navy
Entered service at: California.
Years of service: 1926-1956
Awards: Medal of Honor
Place and date: Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, Territory of Hawaii, 7 December 1941
Lieutenant John William Finn, born July 23, 1909 in Los Angeles, California, is a retired officer of the United States Navy who was awarded the Medal of Honor in recognition of heroism and distinguished service during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
Finn enlisted in the Navy in July 1926, and was stationed as a Chief Petty Officer at the Naval Air Station at Kane'ohe Bay in O?ahu, one of the Hawaiian Islands. During the first attack by the Japanese aircraft, Finn took control of a machine gun post and continued to fire on the attacking planes despite being hit five times by enemy strafing fire. Following that incident, he was awarded the Medal of Honour for heroism.

Medal of Honor citation: "For extraordinary heroism, distinguished service, and devotion above and beyond the call of duty. During the first attack by Japanese airplanes on the Naval Air Station, Kanoehe Bay, on 7 December 1941, Lieutenant Finn 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, 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. It was only by specific orders that he was persuaded to leave his post to seek medical attention. Following first-aid treatment, although obviously suffering much pain and moving with great difficulty, he returned to the squadron area and actively supervised the rearming of returning planes. His extraordinary heroism and conduct in this action were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."

During World War II, Finn served as an Ensign and eventually a Lieutenant with the Bombing Squadron VB-102 on board the USS Hancock (CV-19). He retired from the Navy in September 1956.
Today {after 1998} he lives in California by himself (his wife Alice died in 1998). He is the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from the attack on Pearl Harbor. LT Finn is the oldest living recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Obituary:
John Finn, Medal of Honor Winner, Dies at 100
John W. Finn, the last survivor of the 15 Navy men who received the Medal of Honor for heroism during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, died Thursday at a nursing home in Chula Vista, Calif. He was 100 and had been the oldest living recipient of the medal, the nation’s highest award for valor.
John W. Finn, with his wife, Alice, was awarded the Medal of Honor during ceremonies at Pearl Harbor in 1942.
His death was announced by J. P. Tremblay, deputy secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs.
On the morning of Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, when Japanese planes bombed the American battleships in Hawaii, plunging the nation into World War II, numerous acts of valor played out. Most of them took place aboard the stricken ships — in some cases efforts by the wounded and the dying to save their fellow sailors. Amid the death and destruction, Chief Finn, on an airfield runway, was waging a war of his own against the Japanese.
A few minutes before 8 o’clock, Japanese planes attacked the Kaneohe Bay Naval Air Station, about 12 miles from Battleship Row at Ford Island, hoping to knock out three dozen Navy aircraft before they could get aloft.
Mr. Finn, the chief petty officer in charge of munitions at the naval station and a veteran of 15 years in the Navy, was in bed in a nearby apartment with his wife, Alice. He heard the sound of aircraft, saw one plane flash past his window, then another, and he heard machine guns.
He dressed hurriedly, and drove to the naval station. At first, he observed the base’s 20 miles-per-hour speed limit. But then, “I heard a plane come roaring in from astern of me,” he recalled decades later in an interview with Larry Smith for “Beyond Glory,” an oral history of Medal of Honor recipients.
“As I glanced up, the guy made a wing-over, and I saw that big old red meatball, the rising sun insignia, on the underside of the wing. Well, I threw it into second and it’s a wonder I didn’t run over every sailor in the air station.”
When Chief Finn arrived at the hangars, many of the planes had already been hit. He recalled that he grabbed a .30-caliber machine gun on a makeshift tripod, carried it to an exposed area near a runway and began firing. For the next two and a half hours, he blazed away, although peppered by shrapnel as the Japanese planes strafed the runways with cannon fire.
As he remembered it: “I got shot in the left arm and shot in the left foot, broke the bone. I had shrapnel blows in my chest and belly and right elbow and right thumb. Some were just scratches. My scalp got cut, and everybody thought I was dying: Oh, Christ, the old chief had the top of his head knocked off! I had 28, 29 holes in me that were bleeding. I was walking around on one heel. I was barefooted on that coral dust. My left arm didn’t work. It was just a big ball hanging down.”
Chief Finn thought he had hit at least one plane, but he did not know whether he had brought it down. When the attack ended, he received first aid, then returned to await a possible second attack. He was hospitalized the following afternoon.
On Sept. 15, 1942, Chief Finn received the Medal of Honor from Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet, in a ceremony aboard the carrier Enterprise at Pearl Harbor. Admiral Nimitz cited Chief Finn for his “magnificent courage in the face of almost certain death.”
John William Finn was born on July 23, 1909, in Los Angeles County, the son of a plumber. He dropped out of school to join the Navy at age 17.
He served stateside after he recovered from his Pearl Harbor wounds, became a lieutenant in 1944 and remained in military service after the war. He had been living on a cattle ranch in Pine Valley, Calif., about 45 miles east of San Diego, before entering the nursing home where he died.
His survivors include a son, Joseph. His wife died in 1998.
Ten of the 15 servicemen who received the Medal of Honor for their actions at Pearl Harbor died in the attack. Among them were Rear Adm. Isaac C. Kidd, commander of Battleship Division 1, who was aboard the Arizona when it blew up and sank; Capt. Franklin Van Valkenburgh, commander of the Arizona; and Capt. Mervyn S. Bennion, commander of the battleship West Virginia. Four of the Pearl Harbor medal recipients survived the war. Cmdr. Cassin Young, awarded the medal for reboarding and saving his repair ship, the Vestal, after being blown into the water, died in November 1942 in the battle for Guadalcanal.
In 1999, Mr. Finn was among Pearl Harbor veterans invited to Hawaii for the premiere of the Hollywood movie “Pearl Harbor.” “It was a damned good movie,” he told The Boston Herald in 2001. “It’s helped educate people who didn’t know about Pearl Harbor and what happened there.”
“I liked it especially,” he said, “because I got to kiss all those pretty little movie actresses.”
[The NY Times, 27 May 2010 - Sub. by a FoFG]
   
FRANCIS CHARLES FLAHERTY FRANCIS CHARLES FLAHERTY
15 March 1919 - 7 December 1941


Rank and organization: Ensign, U.S. Naval Reserve.
Entered the service from Michigan.
Years of service: 1940 - 1941
Awards: Medal of Honor, Awarded Posthumously
Francis Charles Flaherty (15 March 1919 – 7 December 1941), was an officer in the United States Naval Reserve and a recipient of America's highest military decoration - the Medal of Honor. He received the Medal for helping his crewmates escape the sinking USS Oklahoma at the expense of his own life, during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Francis Flaherty was born on 15 March 1919 in Charlotte, Michigan. He was a parishioner at St. Mary's Catholic Church while living in Charlotte. He enlisted in the Naval Reserve in July 1940 and was commissioned as an Ensign in December of that year.
At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Flaherty was serving on board the USS Oklahoma. The Oklahoma was based at Pearl Harbor for patrols and exercises, and was moored in Battleship Row when the attack began. Almost immediately after the first Japanese bombs fell, the ship was hit by three torpedoes and began to capsize. Those who could began to abandon ship as more torpedoes struck home. Ensign Flaherty remained in one of the ship's turrets, providing light so that the turret crew could escape. When the Oklahoma rolled completely over, he was trapped inside the hull along with many others. Thirty-two crewmembers of the Oklahoma were rescued from inside the hull over the next few days, but Ensign Flaherty was not among them.

Medal of Honor citation: "For conspicuous devotion to duty and extraordinary courage and complete disregard of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty, during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, by Japanese forces on 7 December 1941. When it was seen that the U.S.S. Oklahoma was going to capsize and the order was given to abandon ship, Ens. Flaherty remained in a turret, holding a flashlight so the remainder of the turret crew could see to escape, thereby sacrificing his own life.

Over all, 429 men were entombed in the Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor, including Flaherty. The ship was raised for salvage in 1943, and the remains inside were eventually interred in mass graves marked "Unknowns" at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii. Flaherty's name is inscribed in the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, and a memorial headstone was placed in Maple Hill Cemetery in his hometown of Charlotte, Michigan.
Other Posthumous Honors: The destroyer escort USS Flaherty (DE-135), commissioned in 1943 and decommissioned in 1946, was named in honor of Ensign Flaherty; American Legion Post 42 (Greenawalt-Flaherty) in Charlotte, Michigan is partially named after Ensign Flaherty.
[wikipedia.org]

Memorial Headstone for Francis Flaherty
Maple Hill Cemetery
Charlotte, Eaton County, MI
Plot: Section 3


Flaherty's name is inscribed in the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Remains were reinterred to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii

   
SAMUEL GLENN FUQUA
15 October 1899 – 27 January 1987

Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Navy, U.S.S. Arizona.
Years of service: 1919 - 1953
Entered service at: Laddonia, Mo
Ending Rank: Rear Admiral
Serving on: USS Arizona (BB-39),
USS Macdonough (DD-331), USS Mississippi (BB-41),
USS Tuscaloosa (CA-37)
Commands: USS Bittern, USS Dixie (AD-14)
Awards: Medal of Honor
Samuel Glenn Fuqua (15 October 1899 – 27 January 1987) was a United States Navy officer and a recipient of America's highest military decoration - the Medal of Honor - for his actions in World War II.
Samuel Fuqua entered the United States Naval Academy in July 1919, after a year at the University of Missouri and World War I service in the Army. Following graduation and commissioning in June 1923, he served in the battleship Arizona, destroyer Macdonough and battleship Mississippi before receiving shore duty at San Francisco, California, from 1930 to 1932. Lieutenant Fuqua served in other ships and shore stations during the mid-1930s, and was commanding officer of the minesweeper Bittern in the Asiatic Fleet in 1937-39.
After service at the Naval Training Station, Great Lakes, Illinois, from 1939 to 1941, Lieutenant Commander Fuqua returned to USS Arizona as the ship's Damage Control Officer and First Lieutenant, and was on board her during Japan's 7 December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Though knocked unconscious by a bomb that hit the ship's stern early in the attack, he subsequently directed fire fighting and rescue efforts. After the ship's forward magazines exploded, he was her senior surviving officer and was responsible for saving her remaining crewmen. For his actions at that time, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Lieutenant Commander Fuqua's official
Medal of Honor citation reads: "For distinguished conduct in action, outstanding heroism, and utter disregard of his own safety, above and beyond the call of duty during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, by Japanese forces on 7 December 1941. Upon the commencement of the attack, Lieutenant Commander Fuqua rushed to the quarterdeck of the U.S.S. Arizona to which he was attached where he was stunned and knocked down by the explosion of a large bomb which hit the quarterdeck, penetrated several decks, and started a severe fire. Upon regaining consciousness, he began to direct the fighting of the fire and the rescue of wounded and injured personnel. Almost immediately there was a tremendous explosion forward, which made the ship appear to rise out of the water, shudder and settle down by the bow rapidly. The whole forward part of the ship was enveloped in flames which were spreading rapidly, and wounded and burned men were pouring out of the ship to the quarterdeck. Despite these conditions, his harrowing experience, and severe enemy bombing and strafing, at the time, Lieutenant Commander Fuqua continued to direct the fighting of fires in order to check them while the wounded and burned could be taken from the ship, and supervised the rescue of these men in such an amazingly calm and cool manner and with such excellent judgement, that it inspired everyone who saw him and undoubtedly resulted in the saving of many lives. After realizing that the ship could not be saved and that he was the senior surviving officer aboard, he directed that it be abandoned, but continued to remain on the quarterdeck and directed abandoning ship and rescue of personnel until satisified that all personnel that could be had been saved, after which he left the ship with the (last) boatload. The conduct of Lieutenant Commander Fuqua was not only in keeping with the highest traditions of the Naval Service but characterizes him as an outstanding leader of men."

During most of 1942, Fuqua was an officer of the cruiser Tuscaloosa. From 1943 to 1944, he was assigned to duty at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and attended the Naval War College. Captain Fuqua was Operations Officer for Commander Seventh Fleet from January to August, 1945, helping to plan and execute several amphibious operations in the Philippines and Borneo area. Following the War, he served in other staff positions, and from 1949 to 1950 commanded the destroyer tender Dixie. After service as Chief of Staff of the Eighth Naval District, he retired from active duty in July 1953, receiving at that time the rank of Rear Admiral on the basis of his combat awards.
   

Edwin Joseph Hill, medal of honor recipient

EDWIN JOSEPH HILL
October 4, 1894 - December 7, 1941

Rank and organization: Chief Boatswain (Chief Petty Officer), U.S. Navy.
Years of service: 1912-1941
Accredited to: Pennsylvania.
Place of death: Killed during the Attack on Pearl Harbor
Awards: Medal of Honor, Awarded Posthumously
Edwin Joseph Hill was born 4 October 1894 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and enlisted in the United States Navy in 1912, rising to the rank of Chief Boatswain.
During the 7 December 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he was serving on board USS Nevada (BB-36). In the midst of the attack, he led the ship's line-handling detail in casting off from the quays alongside Ford Island so that Nevada could get underway. He was killed by enemy bombs while attempting to drop anchor at the end of the battleship's brief sortie. For his heroism during the Pearl Harbor action, Chief Boatswain Hill was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor citation: "For distinguished conduct in the line of his profession, extraordinary courage, and disregard of his own safety during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, by Japanese forces on 7 December 1941. During the height of the strafing and bombing, Chief Boatswain Hill led his men of the linehandling details of the U.S.S. Nevada to the quays, cast off the lines and swam back to his ship. Later, while on the forecastle, attempting to let go the anchors, he was blown overboard and killed by the explosion of several bombs. "

In 1943, the destroyer escort USS Hill (DE-141) was named in his honor.

Herbert Charpiot Jones Medal of Honor Recipient

HERBERT CHARPOIT JONES
21 January 1918 – 7 December 1941

Rank and organization: Ensign, U.S. Naval Reserve
Years of service: 1935 – 1941
Accredited to: California
Place of death: KIA on USS California (BB-44), Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
Awards: Medal of Honor, Awarded Posthumously

Born: 1 December 1918, Los Angeles, Calif.
Herbert Charpiot Jones (21 January 1918 – 7 December 1941) was an officer in the United States Navy who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
Jones was born 21 January 1918 at Los Angeles, California and enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve 14 May 1935. He was commissioned Ensign 14 November 1940 and reported to the battleship California (BB-44), at Pearl Harbor 2 weeks later.
On 7 December 1941, the 23-year-old Ensign was about to relieve the officer-of-the-deck on California when Japanese planes swooped in to attack. In the first wave, a torpedo and a bomb hit the ship. Ens. Jones dived into a smoke-filled hatchway and crawled along oil-slick decks to rescue a stricken sailor before being temporarily overcome by fumes. Reviving, Ensign Jones saw an antiaircraft battery without a leader and, staggering to his feet, took command. As a second wave of Japanese planes came in, the young officer fired his guns until all their ammunition was expended. Since the torpedo had put California's ammunition hoist out of action, Ens. Jones quickly organized a party of volunteers to go below and pass the ammunition up by hand. The vitally needed shells had just begun to reach the battery when a bomb hit the ship and mortally wounded him.

Medal of Honor Citation: For conspicuous devotion to duty, extraordinary courage, and complete disregard of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty, during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, by Japanese forces on 7 December 1941. Ensign Jones organized and led a party, which was supplying ammunition to the antiaircraft battery of the U.S.S. California after the mechanical hoists were put out of action when he was fatally wounded by a bomb explosion. When 2 men attempted to take him from the area which was on fire, he refused to let them do so, saying in words to the effect, "Leave me alone! I am done for. Get out of here before the magazines go off."

In 1943, the destroyer escort USS Herbert C. Jones (DE-137) was named in his honor.
   
Isaac Campbell Kidd - medal of honor award recipient ISAAC CAMPBELL KIDD
March 26, 1884 - December 7, 1941

picture: Captain (future Rear Admiral) Isaac C. Kidd, USN taken while he was Chief of Staff to the Commander, Base Force, U.S. Fleet

Rank and organization: Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy
Appointed from: Ohio
Years of service: 1906-1941
Commands: Battleship Division I
Awards: Medal of Honor, Awarded Posthumously
Isaac Campbell Kidd (March 26, 1884 – December 7, 1941) was an American Rear Admiral in the United States Navy who was killed on the bridge of the USS Arizona during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He was the father of Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, Jr.. He was a posthumous recipient of his nation's highest military honor - the Medal of Honor.
Kidd was born in March 26, 1884 in Cleveland, Ohio. He entered the Naval Academy in 1902, graduating with the Class of 1906 in February of that year. He was commissioned an Ensign in 1908. Kidd participated in the 1907-09 Great White Fleet cruise around the World while serving in USS New Jersey (BB-16). Following service in USS North Dakota (BB-29) and USS Pittsburgh, he became Aide and Flag Secretary to the Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, the first of his many flag staff assignments. He was an instructor at the Naval Academy in 1916-17.
During and after the World War I, Kidd was stationed on New Mexico, then had further staff and Naval Academy service. He was executive officer of the battleship Utah in 1925-26, then commanded USS Vega until becoming Captain of the Port at Chrisobal, Panama Canal Zone in 1927-30. Promoted to the rank of Captain, he was Chief of Staff to Commander, Base Force, U.S. Fleet in 1930-32. After three years at the Bureau of Navigation in Washington, D.C., he was Commander Destroyer Squadron ONE, Scouting Force, in 1935-36.
During the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, Rear Admiral Kidd was Commander of Battleship Division 1 and Chief of Staff and Aide, Commander, Battleship Battle Force. At the first knowledge of the attack, he rushed to the bridge of Arizona, his flagship, and "courageously discharged his duties as Senior Officer Present Afloat until Arizona blew up from a magazine explosion and a direct bomb hit on the bridge which resulted in the loss of his life."
He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor citation: "For conspicuous devotion to duty, extraordinary courage, and complete disregard of his own life, during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, by Japanese Forces on December 7, 1941. Rear Admiral Kidd immediately went to the bridge and as Commander Battleship Division One, courageously discharged his duties as Senior Officer Present Afloat until the USS ARIZONA, his Flagship, blew up from magazine explosions and a direct bomb hit on the bridge, which resulted in the loss of his life."

Three Navy destroyers have been named in his honor; see USS Kidd.
   

JACKSON CHARLES PHARRIS

JACKSON CHARLES PHARRIS
26 June 1912 – 17 October 1966

Rank and organization: Lieutenant, U.S. Navy
Entered service at: California
Ending Rank: Lieutenant Commander
Awards: Medal of Honor

Photo submitted by Bill Gonyo
Photo Credit as Howard Lipin/Union-Tribune [
San Diego Union-Tribune].
Jackson Charles Pharris (26 June 1912 – 17 October 1966), Columbus, Georgia was an officer in the United States Navy who was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
On 7 December 1941, Pharris was serving on board the battleship California (BB-44).

Medal of Honor citation: "For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while attached to the U.S.S. California during the surprise enemy Japanese aerial attack on Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, 7 December 1941. In charge of the ordnance repair party on the third deck when the first Japanese torpedo struck almost directly under his station, Lieutenant (then Gunner) Pharris was stunned and severely injured by the concussion which hurled him to the overhead and back to the deck. Quickly recovering, he acted on his own initiative to set up a hand-supply ammunition train for the antiaircraft guns. With water and oil rushing in where the port bulkhead had been torn up from the deck, with many of the remaining crewmembers overcome by oil fumes, and the ship without power and listing heavily to port as a result of a second torpedo hit, Lieutenant Pharris ordered the shipfitters to counterflood. Twice rendered unconscious by the nauseous fumes and handicapped by his painful injuries, he persisted in his desperate efforts to speed up the supply of ammunition and at the same time repeatedly risked his life to enter flooding compartments and drag to safety unconscious shipmates who were gradually being submerged in oil. By his inspiring leadership, his valiant efforts and his extreme loyalty to his ship and her crew, he saved many of his shipmates from death and was largely responsible for keeping the California in action during the attack. His heroic conduct throughout this first eventful engagement of World War II reflects the highest credit upon Lieutenant Pharris and enhances the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service."

Pharris retired from the Navy with the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He died on 17 October 1966, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
In 1972, the destroyer escort USS Pharris (DE-1094) was named in his honor.


Sources: Naval Historical Center, Medal of Honor Citations, Wikipedia



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