Chief John W. Finn Sculpture Project of the Naval Order of the United States
The Naval Order of the United States is working to establish a permanent monument to the memory of Chief John Finn, Pearl Harbor survivor and figure of Naval lore. Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Finn earned the Medal of Honor for his valor having manned a machine gun from an exposed position at Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay; he fought through the first attack on the American forces despite being repeatedly wounded. The Chief remained at his gun until ordered to seek medical attention, after which, having received only basic treatment, he returned to the airfield to supervise the rearming or his returning aircraft. Chief Finn would retire from Naval Service as a Lieutenant, and at age 100, when he crossed the bar, he was the oldest living Medal of Honor recipient from the attack on Pearl Harbor. In honor of the Chief’s memory, the Navy launched the USS John Finn (DDG-113) in March of 2015.
To honor the Chief, a statue is being created in his likeness and when completed it will be placed on the pier at Ford Island adjacent to the battleship USS Missouri, directly across from the Nimitz statue placed there by the Naval Order in 2012.
Memorial to Chief Petty Officers Past & Present
The statue will serve as both a memorial to Finn as well as all Chief Petty Officers past and present. “We want to recognize Chiefs of the Navy”, offered Companion Captain Attilio Serafini, Jr. SC, USN (Ret.), “and the members of the Naval order liked the idea of having a specific CPO represent the Chiefs, rather than a generic figure.” The statue is being created by Rip Caswell, the same sculptor that created the likeness of ADM Nimitz. Two statues are being created by the artist with the first to be delivered and installed by the USS Midway at the base of Broadway in San Diego, and the second destined for Pearl Harbor.
“The sculptor likes to have the real items he is sculpting so that he can touch it and look at it closely”, commented Serafini. “Therefore, we collected the uniform of that period and the other items that make the figure complete. The sculptor puts all of it on a mannequin and uses it during the entire period he is working in clay. The Chief uniform from that era was borrowed from a museum in San Diego, CA. The medals and ribbons were obtained from different sources.”
“The objectives of this project are to allow the Naval Order to again fulfill its mission to preserve and promote U.S. Naval History. There will be over 600,000 visitors a year from all over the world that will see the sculpture. This will especially allow young people to learn something about a portion of the Navy’s history. Youth are a particular group that the Naval Order wants to educate.”
The two lead Naval Order Companions on this project are RADM Douglas M. Moore, Jr. SC, USN (Ret.) and Captain Attilio Serafini, Jr. SC, USN (Ret.). Donations to this project can be made to the Naval Order Foundation.