PASCAGOULA, Miss. (NNS) -- Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Mike Stevens spoke at the christening ceremony for the future guided-missile destroyer USS John Finn (DDG 113) at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi, May 2.
John Finn, who retired as a lieutenant in 1956, was a chief ordnanceman stationed in Hawaii the morning of the Dec. 7, 1941 surprise attack by Japanese forces.
Stevens told the audience Finn distinguished himself that day by manning a .50-caliber machine gun for two hours, with no cover as the enemy aircraft continued their attack. Although wounded 21 separate times, Finn continued to fight the incoming enemy aircraft without regard for his personal safety. Almost a year later, Finn received the Medal of Honor from Adm. Chester Nimitz aboard USS Enterprise (CV 6) for his actions.
After speaking about Finn's heroism in the face of overwhelming odds, Stevens shared with the audience his vision of the ideal leader - a quiet, humble, servant leader.
"By quiet, I mean we let our actions speaks for themselves," said Stevens. "Humble means we do not think less of ourselves, but think more about others. And being a servant leader means you recognize that the more senior you become, the more people you serve."
"I believe with all my heart that John Finn exemplified all of these traits through his heroic actions on that day," said Stevens. "'A date which will live in infamy.' I would be hard-pressed to come up with a better example of a Sailor, or a chief petty officer, who, under such extraordinary circumstances, rose to the occasion in such an amazing way."
The ship's sponsor, Laura Stavridis, also addressed the audience before completing the christening ceremony.
"In the end, a ship is made of metal and glass and electronics and fiber, but the heart of the ship is of course the crew," she said. "This crew will come together over the next 18 months and be led by a superb leadership team - Capt. Micheal Wagner the PCO (prospective commanding officer) and [prospective] Command Master Chief Thomas Conway. I think it will be especially proud for Master Chief Conway to serve as CMC on a ship named after a chief petty officer who earned the Medal of Honor.
"John Finn was brave, resourceful, determined, and above all a patriot of the United States of America," said Stavridis. "His spirit and courage will always sail in this warship when christened shortly."
The christening ceremony was attended by a number of special guests, including Finn's son, Joseph Finn, and five Pearl Harbor survivors.