Medal of Honor citation: John McGinty
We wrap up this month’s feature of Marine recipients from the 20th Century in Vietnam, where a young 2nd Lieutenant shows the stuff of Marine legend.
I hope this month’s theme – and this article overall – are an inspiration to all of you to reach as far as you can in your daily life. As always, it is an honor to bring these stories to you. Keep those e-mails coming – I may not always have time to respond, but I do read every one of them!
Make the most of your day!
McGINTY, JOHN J. III
Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant (then S/Sgt.), U.S. Marine Corps, Company K, 3d Battalion, 4th Marines, 3d Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force. Place and date: Republic of Vietnam, 18 July 1966. Entered service at: Laurel Bay, S.C. Born: 21 January 1940, Boston, Mass.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. 2d Lt. McGinty’s platoon, which was providing rear security to protect the withdrawal of the battalion from a position which had been under attack for 3 days, came under heavy small arms, automatic weapons and mortar fire from an estimated enemy regiment. With each successive human wave which assaulted his 32-man platoon during the 4-hour battle, 2d Lt. McGinty rallied his men to beat off the enemy. In 1 bitter assault, 2 of the squads became separated from the remainder of the platoon. With complete disregard for his safety, 2d Lt. McGinty charged through intense automatic weapons and mortar fire to their position. Finding 20 men wounded and the medical corpsman killed, he quickly reloaded ammunition magazines and weapons for the wounded men and directed their fire upon the enemy. Although he was painfully wounded as he moved to care for the disabled men, he continued to shout encouragement to his troops and to direct their fire so effectively that the attacking hordes were beaten off. When the enemy tried to out-flank his position, he killed 5 of them at point-blank range with his pistol. When they again seemed on the verge of overrunning the small force, he skillfully adjusted artillery and air strikes within 50 yards of his position. This destructive firepower routed the enemy, who left an estimated 500 bodies on the battlefield. 2d Lt. McGinty’s personal heroism, indomitable leadership, selfless devotion to duty, and bold fighting spirit inspired his men to resist the repeated attacks by a fanatical enemy, reflected great credit upon himself, and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service.