Medal of Honor: McGinnis, Ross A.

Ross McGinnis entered the US Army on his 17th birthday. He was 19 years old when he earned his Medal of Honor fighting in Iraq. PFC McGinnis exhibited the single most profound act of bravery that is humanly possible. In one split second he decided that he would sacrifice his life to save his fellow soldiers. Please take a moment to read the citation of a hero.

Rank: Private First Class
Organization: U.S. Army
Company: Company C, 1st Battalion
Division: 1st Infantry Division
Born: June 14, 1987 in Meadville, PA
Departed: Yes (12/04/2006)
Entered Service At: June 14, 2004 in Pittsburgh, PA
Date of Issue: 06/05/2008
Place / Date: In Adhamiyah, Northeast Baghdad, Iraq, on 4 December 2006
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 4 December 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 military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.