A Coast Guardsman's Story: Seaman Second Class Florence Ebersole Finch

Seaman Second Class Florence Ebersole Finch was born on October 11, 1915, in Santiago, Philippines.

Working at G-2 intelligence before World War II, she had married a sailor, Charles Smith, who was killed during the Japanese invasion.

During the Japanese occupation, she suppressed her mixed heritage (her father was an American, her mother Philipino) and worked at the Philippine Liquid Fuel Company, which was under Japanese control.

Seaman Florence Finch used her position to assist the Philippine resistance movement, including obtaining supplies and helping sabotage enemy efforts from June 1942 until her discovery and arrest in October 1944. Seaman Florence Finch also smuggled supplies and food to prisoners.

After her arrest, Seaman Second Class Florence Finch was severely tortured, starved, and often imprisoned in a small box until the liberation of the Philippine Islands in February 1945.  She weighed only 80 pounds when rescued.

She moved to Buffalo, New York, and enlisted in the U.S. C st Guard, serving until 1946.  She was awarded the Medal of Freedom and the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Ribbon and was the first woman to receive that honor.

Seaman Second Class Florence Ebersole Finch died on December 8, 2016, and rests in the Pleasant Grove Cemetary in Ithaca, New York.


a.d. elliott is a wanderer, writer, and photographer currently living in Salem, Virginia. 

In addition to the travel writings at www.takethebackroads.com, you can also read her book reviews at www.riteoffancy.com and US military biographies at www.everydaypatriot.com

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