Ross A. McGinnis: Wikis


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Ross Andrew McGinnis
June 14, 1987(1987-06-14) – December 4, 2006 (aged 19)
PFC Ross McGinnis OSUT Infantry School Photo.jpg  
Pfc. Ross A. McGinnis at Fort Benning, Georgia
Place of birth Knox, Pennsylvania
Place of death Adhamiyah, Iraq
Place of burial Arlington National Cemetery, Section 60, Site 8544
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Department of the Army Seal.svg United States Army
Years of service 2004 - 2006
Rank Specialist
Unit Company C, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 2nd "Dagger" Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division
Battles/wars Iraq War
Awards Medal of Honor
Silver Star
Bronze Star
Purple Heart

Ross Andrew McGinnis (June 14, 1987 – December 4, 2006) was a soldier in the United States Army who was killed in action on December 4, 2006 during the Iraq War when he threw himself on a live grenade thereby saving the lives of at least four other Soldiers. For his action, McGinnis was posthumously promoted to specialist and awarded the Medal of Honor as well as the Silver Star and Purple Heart. His family was presented the Medal of Honor by President George W. Bush on June 2, 2008 at a ceremony at the White House.[1][2]

Since the beginning of the Iraq War, McGinnis is one of four known United States Servicemen who have thrown themselves on a live grenade; the others being Marine Corporal Jason Dunham, Navy SEAL Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor, and Marine Sergeant Rafael Peralta.[3] McGinnis is the fourth recipient of the Medal of Honor in Operation Iraqi Freedom.[4]


Early life

Ross McGinnis was born in Meadville, Pennsylvania June 14, 1987, but when he was three his family moved to Knox, Pennsylvania, northeast of Pittsburgh. When he was in kindergarten, his teacher gave him a paper that at the top said "When I grow up, I want to be __________." and he wrote an Army Man, which he later became. He was in the Boy Scouts when he was a boy and an athlete, playing basketball and soccer through the YMCA, and Little League baseball. He attended Clarion County public schools and graduated from Keystone Junior-Senior High School in 2005.

Military service

McGinnis had wanted to be a Soldier since kindergarten and joined the Army on June 14, 2004, his 17th birthday when he went to the Army recruiting station and joined through the delayed entry program. This is unique because June 14 is the birthdate of the United States National Flag, and The United States Army.

He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, in Ledward Barracks, Schweinfurt, Germany following basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia.[5]

In August 2006, the regiment was deployed to eastern Baghdad. McGinnis served as a Humvee M2 .50 caliber machine gunner during operations against insurgents in Adhamiyah. On December, 4, while his platoon was on mounted patrol in Adhamiyah, an insurgent was able to throw a grenade into McGinnis' HMMWV. 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. McGinnis was killed instantly, but the other occupants of the HMMWV were able to survive with only minor injuries.[6]

Honors and awards

McGinnis was the recipient of several military awards including the Medal of Honor, Silver Star, Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.


Military decorations

U.S. military decorations
Medal of Honor ribbon.svg Medal of Honor
Silver Star ribbon.svg Silver Star
Bronze Star ribbon.svg Bronze Star
Purple Heart BAR.svg Purple Heart
Army Good Conduct ribbon.svg Army Good Conduct Medal
National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg National Defense Service Medal
U.S. service (campaign) medals and service and training ribbons
Iraq Campaign ribbon.svg Iraq Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service ribbon.svg Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon.svg Army Service Ribbon
Army Overseas Service Ribbon.svg Army Overseas Service Ribbon
U.S. badges, patches and tabs
Combat Infantry Badge.svg Combat Infantryman Badge
1st US Infantry Division.svg 1st Infantry Division Patch (left arm) Shoulder Sleeve Insignia and (right arm) Shoulder Sleeve Insignia - Former War Time Service (SSI-FWTS)

Medal of Honor citation

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.

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

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 military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.[7]

Ross McGinnis: Fallen Hero

President Barack Obama leaves a presidential coin at the McGinnis gravesite. The President was at Arlington Cemetery to give Veterans Day remarks on November 11, 2009.

A PBS Special Report produced by an Emmy Award winning team chronicles and remembers the life of Ross Andrew McGinnis as told by his parents, friends and the caring people in his hometown of Knox, Clarion County, Pennsylvania.

See also



External links


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