Thursday, August 19, 2010


PFC Ross McGinnis

Ross Andrew McGinnis (June 14, 1987 – December 4, 2006) was a soldier who served in the United States Army during the Iraq War and was posthumously awarded the United States' highest decoration for bravery, the Medal of Honor. 
While serving as the gunner in a HMMWV, his convoy was attacked and a hand grenade was thrown into his vehicle. McGinnis was subsequently killed in action when he threw himself on the grenade, saving the lives of at least four other soldiers in the vehicle. He was the fourth soldier to receive the Medal of Honor during the Iraq War, which was presented to his family following his death.

McGinnis had wanted to be a soldier since kindergarten and joined the Army through the Delayed Entry Program on his 17th birthday, on June 14, 2004. Following basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia, he was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, in Ledward Barracks, in Schweinfurt, Germany.

In August 2006, aged 19, the regiment was deployed to eastern Baghdad and he was serving as a .50 caliber machine-gunner in a Humvee during operations against insurgents in Adhamiyah. On December 4, while his platoon was on mounted patrol in Adhamiyah, a grenade was thrown into his vehicle. He told the other four men about it, so they could prepare for the blast. Instead of jumping out of the gunning hatch, he threw his back over the grenade, absorbing the bulk of the blast. He was killed instantly, but the other occupants were able to survive with only minor injuries.

He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia and his grave can be found in section 60, site 8544.

A ceremony was held in the east room of the White House on June 2, 2008 in which the medal was presented to his family by President George W. Bush.

In addition to his family and the President a many other notable people attended the ceremony, including the Vice President, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs James Peake, Secretary of the Army Pete Geren, Secretary of the Air Force Michael Wynne, General Jim "Hoss" Cartwright, and the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Several members of congress also attended as did members of McGinnis' unit from Iraq, including the other soldiers from the vehicle he sacrificed his life to save.

Medal of Honor citation:
President George Bush presents the Medal of Honor to the parents of Ross McGinnis

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

    Private First Class Ross A. McGinnis distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an M2 .50-caliber Machine Gunner, 1st Platoon, C Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, in connection with combat operations against an armed enemy in Adhamiyah, Northeast Baghdad, Iraq, on December 4, 2006. 

That afternoon his platoon was conducting combat control operations in an effort to reduce and control sectarian violence in the area. While Private McGinnis was manning the M2 .50-caliber Machine Gun, a fragmentation grenade thrown by an insurgent fell through the gunner's hatch into the vehicle. Reacting quickly, he yelled "grenade," allowing all four members of his crew to prepare for the grenade's blast. Then, rather than leaping from the gunner's hatch to safety, Private McGinnis made the courageous decision to protect his crew. 

In a selfless act of bravery, in which he was mortally wounded, Private McGinnis covered the live grenade, pinning it between his body and the vehicle and absorbing most of the explosion. Private McGinnis' gallant action directly saved four men from certain serious injury or death. Private First Class McGinnis' extraordinary heroism and selflessness at the cost of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

John 15:13, Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.


2Thinks said...

Is this what it is when one lays down his life for another?

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

Someone did this for me? It does drive it home, KW- in a way that makes my heart skip a beat...

Can't really express my thoughts accurately on this, but there's a knot in my gut and a lump in my throat.

Charlene said...

He was a hero and an honorable man.

I would like for the people who put him in that war to feel the pain his family feel.

red.neck chic said...

I love these Thursday posts... it makes me even more thankful and grateful than I already am...


Marnie said...

He was beyond brave. An extremely unselfish act. My heart jumped when I saw his age.


Unbelievable.One would think that that level of bravery and selflessness would be against the grain of human nature.

But to die so young.....tragic.

linda said...

It tears me up.
It amazes me, the courage and sacrifice.
It horrifies me.

Thank you.

Spiky Zora Jones said...

warrior man...I'm amazed at the courage people have. That is amazing though tragic that he was not able to live a full life.

later honey. xx.

My ADHD Me said...

Your Thankful Thursday posts remind me that pride does still exist in the United States.

For some reason, I think I have inadvertently stopped following you. Working on fixing that!

Anonymous said...

The world would be a better place with people like him still here. But if he hadn't acted so quickly they would all have passed away. I hope those he saved as well as all of us will remember how lucky we are for people like Ross McGinnis a true hero.