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Iraq hero joins hallowed group
President Bush will present America's top award for bravery to the family of the sergeant who died defending his soldiers.
February 2, 2005

Medal Of Honor for Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith

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Let Me Tell You About A Man Named Paul

Whether or not you agreed with the war on Iraq and/or the events that led up to that war, one quality has always remained unwavering within us the American public; we support our troops. And support we did. We cheered and held rallies, awarded medals, and let them all bask in the well deserved spotlight of heroism. We even spent extra effort reassuring our POW's know they were never far from our thoughts during their captivity, and afford them untold honors and unimaginable attention we usually reserve for (much less deserving, I might add) our favorite Hollywood stars and world class athletes. In addition to having her name a household world, Jessica Lynch has had offers to host popular television shows and has two full scholarships waiting for her when she finally makes it through her grueling rehabilitation.

And not to say any of these people are undeserving of this doting, but what may I ask, about our soldiers who didn't make it home? What about their families? Or even more specifically, what about the children who will have to grow up without a parent, who won't have a father watch them graduate elementary school, or build them a lemonade stand, or a mother reassure them before taking a drivers test? What about the widowed spouse who will look upon their next wedding anniversary with dread instead of joy? Who supports and holds these people up?

You do. So let me tell you a story about a man named Paul.

Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith, age 33, Bravo Company, 11th Engineer Battalion of the 3rd Infantry Division, died heroically leading his squad in battle on Friday, April 4, 2003, in Baghdad, Iraq, during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Events that have gotten him nominated for the Medal of Honor.

October 23, 2003: In today's world, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that one man can make a difference. Paul Ray Smith is on the way to becoming the first serviceman to receive the Medal of Honor since MSG Gary Gordon and SFC Randall Shughart fought their last battle in Mogadishu on October 3, 1993.

During Operation Iraqi Freedom, SFC (Sergeant First Class) Smith was a platoon sergeant/acting platoon leader in the 1st Brigade's B Company, 11th Engineer Battalion attached to the 2-7 Task Force. Bravo Company was in contact with Saddam's forces nearly every day during the second phase of the campaign. After a pause below As Samawah and Karbala, the drive on Baghdad from the south carried the 2-7th into Saddam International Airport.

On the morning of April 4, the Task Force was inside of the airport and several enemy soldiers had been captured, so a containment pen had be to quickly built. There was a wall 10 ft tall paralleling the north side of the highway, on the battalion's flank just behind the front lines. Smith (whose callsign was 'Sapper 7') decided to punch a hole in it, so that the inside walls would form two sides of a triangular enclosure and the open third side could be closed off with rolls of concertina wire.

Smith used an armored combat earthmover to punch through the wall and, while wire was being laid across the corner, one of the squad's two M113s moved toward a gate on the far side of the courtyard. The driver pushed open the gate to open a field of fire, revealing between 50 and 100 enemy soldiers massed to attack. The only way out was the hole the engineers had put in the wall and the gate where the hardcore Iraqis were firing.

What happened next was equal to Audie Murphy's legendary World War II heroism. Iraqi soldiers perched in trees and a nearby tower let loose with a barrage of RPGs and there were snipers on the roof. A mortar round hit the engineers' M-113, seriously wounding three soldiers inside. Smith helped evacuate them to an aid station, which was threatened by the attack as well.

Smith promptly organized the engineers' defense, since the only thing that stood between the Iraqis and the Task Force's headquarters were about 15 to 20 engineers, mortarmen and medics. A second M113 was hit by an RPG, but was still operational. Dozens of Iraqi soldiers were charging from the gate or scaling a section of the wall, jumping into the courtyard.

Smith took over the second APC's .50-caliber machine gun and got the vehicle into a position where he could stop the Iraqis. First Sergeant Tim Campbell realized that they had to knock out the Iraqi position in the tower and after consulting with Smith, led two soldiers to take the tower. Armed only with a light machine-gun, a rifle and a pistol with one magazine, the trio advanced behind the smoke of tall grass that had caught fire from exploding ammunition.

Smith yelled for more ammunition three times during the fight, going through 400 rounds before he was hit in the head. Shortly before taking the tower and gunning down the Iraqis inside, Campbell noticed that the sound of Smith's .50-caliber had also stopped. Campbell figured Smith was just reloading again.

The medics worked on SFC Smith for 30 minutes, but he was dead.

According to the citation, his actions killed 20 to 50 Iraqis, allowing the American wounded to be evacuated, saving the aid station and headquarters (as well as possibly 100 American lives). Fellow soldiers credit Smith with thwarting the advance of well-trained, well-equipped soldiers from the Special Republican Guard, which was headed straight for the 2-7 Task Force's headquarters (Tactical Operations Center), less than a half-mile away. The battle captains, commanders and journalists huddled at the operations center were trying to protect themselves against tank fire and snipers in the nearby woods They had no idea about the possible onslaught of Republican Guard from the nearby complex.

this article originally posted on http://www.strategypage.com


A single bullet stole him away from a wife, two children, his parents, his brother, and two sisters. All that Paul had, including his family and all his worldly possessions, has been left behind. After grappling with the shock of their loss, they were left to deal with his world affairs, including what to do with his prized possession, a 1984 FXRT Harley Davidson motorcycle. After some debate, it was agreed that raffling it off -- with 100% of the proceeds to benefit Paul's wife and two children -- would be the most practical and least painful way to find the bike new ownership.

Personal letter from President Bush supersized
Presidential certificate accompanying burial flag supersized

Personal note from Senator Miller supersized
Personal note from Senator Nelson supersized

Handwritten note from Congressman Bilirakis supersized
Handsigned note from Governor Bush supersized

the raffle WAS held on July 19th, 2003 at Earl Small's Harley-Davidson

see the harley - one - two - three - four - five - six - seven - eight - nine
poster of Paul's story at the dealer (supersized)

one of the last photos of Paul alive, goofing around on a captured Iraqi motorcycle

http://www.tampabays10.com/news/news.aspx?storyid=6614

http://www.sptimes.com/2004/webspecials04/medalofhonor/

http://www.fallenheroesmemorial.com/oif ... paulr.html

visit the official site dedicated to Paul's memory and the raffle of his motorcycle


www.sfcpaulsmith.com

http://www.sptimes.com/2004/webspecials04/medalofhonor/

step by step account of the battle.

yeah. Its amazing that i just heard of this story the other day and it happened over a year ago during the invasion. The media never tells stories like this one. About the courage and dedication of our military. They just want to paint a war mongering image of our soldiers. I thank God everyday I wake up to live in this country. And i teach my daughter to thank every soldier, marine, airman, squid, coastie, all of them for what we have today. I just wanted to pass along some good information about a man that may get the medal of honor, the first one since Somalia and black hawk down. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of such a great soldier.

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
April 4, 2005

President Presents Medal of Honor to Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith
The East Room

President Bush presents the CMH to the family of SFC Paul Smith

US Army SFC Paul Smith

DOD SFC Paul Smith

                                                                                                                                   

Corporal Jason Dunham, USMC,
to be posthumously
awarded the Medal of Honor

President George W. Bush announced on Friday, at the opening of the Marine Corps Museum, that Corporal Jason Dunham, USMC, will be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.  There has been no presentation date announced at this time.  People can find more information by going to www.marines.mil.

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Cpl. Jason L. Dunham

First Long War Marine to receive Medal of Honor

By Staff Sgt. Scott Dunn, Headquarters Marine Corps

Quantico, VA (Nov. 10, 2006) -- A corporal who died shielding men in his care from a bursting grenade deserves America’s highest military decoration, President Bush has confirmed.

Actions by Cpl. Jason L. Dunham, who would have turned 25 today, merit the Medal of Honor, Bush said at the National Museum of the Marine Corps’ dedication ceremony, which coincided with the 231st Marine Corps anniversary.

“And on this special birthday, in the company of his fellow Marines, I’m proud to announce that our nation will recognize Cpl. Jason Dunham’s action with America’s highest decoration for valor, the Medal of Honor,” Bush said in front of approximately 15,000 people.

The announcement prompted a booming “Ooh-rah!” – a spirited cry among Marines –from the back of the crowd, and a long applause followed.

On April 14, 2004, in Iraq near the Syrian border, the corporal used his helmet and his body to smother an exploding Mills Bomb let loose by a raging insurgent whom Dunham and two other Marines tried to subdue.

The explosion dazed and wounded Lance Cpl. William Hampton and Pfc. Kelly Miller. The insurgent stood up after the blast and was immediately killed by Marine small-arms fire.

“By giving his own life, Cpl. Dunham saved the lives of two of his men and showed the world what it means to be a Marine,” said Bush.

Dunham lay face down with a shard the size of a dress-shirt button lodged in his head. The hard, molded mesh that was his Kevlar helmet was now scattered yards around into clods and shredded fabric. Dunham never regained consciousness and died eight days later at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., with his mother and father at his bedside.

Dunham’s commanding officers from 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, investigated his actions and nominated him for the Medal of Honor. After two years and seven months making its way to the White House, the nomination now has the necessary approval from the president. The president will present the medal and citation at a date to be determined.

Hoping the president would make the Medal of Honor announcement on their son’s birthday, Dan and Debra Dunham drove to Quantico from their home in Scio, N.Y. Dunham is buried in Scio.

“The public now knows what Jason did,” said Deb. “We still have a loss, but the gift that Jason gave helps us go on.

"The good part is that we get to make new memories and bring new people into the family; the bad news is there will be no new memories with Jason.”

The president acknowledged Dan and Deb sitting in the front row. The parents held each other close as the audience gave a resounding applause.

“We took (the applause) as a thank you for us, but it was for Jason,” Deb said. “At that point, Dan and I were missing Jason a lot.”

Addressing Dunham’s parents, Bush said, “We remember that the Marine who so freely gave his life was your beloved son. We ask a loving God to comfort you for a loss that can never be replaced.

“As long as we have Marines like Cpl. Dunham, America will never fear for her liberty.”

Before Dunham, the last Marine actions to earn the medal happened May 8, 1970, in Vietnam, according to Marine Corps History Division records. A Medal of Honor citation details Lance Cpl. Miguel Keith’s machine-gun charge that inspired a platoon facing nearly overwhelming odds: Wounded, Keith ran into “fire-swept terrain.” Wounded again by a grenade, he still attacked, taking out enemies in the forward rush. Keith fought until mortally wounded; his platoon came out on top despite being heavily outnumbered.

The last Marine to receive the Medal of Honor was Maj. Gen. James L. Day, who distinguished himself as a corporal in the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. On Jan. 20, 1998, more than half a century later, President Bill Clinton presented the medal to Day, who passed away that year.

Since the Long War began, the president has presented one Medal of Honor. On April 4, 2003, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Army Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith posthumously earned the medal for organizing a defense that held off a company-sized attack on more than 100 vulnerable coalition soldiers. In the defense, Smith manned a .50 caliber machine gun in an exposed position until he was mortally wounded.

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Iraq War Heroes

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President Signs S. 4515, Designates Corporal Jason L. Dunham Post Office

On Tuesday, March 14, 2006, the President signed into law:

S. 4515, which designates the facility of the United States Postal Service located in Scio, New York, as the Corporal Jason L. Dunham Post Office.

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*MONSOOR, MICHAEL A.

 

Rank and Organization: Master-at-Arms,  Navy, SEAL.
Place and date:
Ar Ramadi, Iraq, 29 September 2006.
Entered service at:
Garden Grove, CA.
Born:
April 5th, 1981.
Citation:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as automatic weapons gunner for naval special warfare task group Arabian Peninsula, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom on 29 September 2006. As a member of a combined SEAL and Iraqi army sniper over-watch element, tasked with providing early warning and stand-off protection from a rooftop in an insurgent held sector of Ar Ramadi, Iraq, Petty Officer Monsoor distinguished himself by his exceptional bravery in the face of grave danger. In the early morning, insurgents prepared to execute a coordinated attack by reconnoitering the area around the element’s position. Element snipers thwarted the enemy’s initial attempt by eliminating two insurgents. The enemy continued to assault the element, engaging them with a rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire. As enemy activity increased, Petty Officer Monsoor took position with his machine gun between two teammates on an outcropping of the roof. While the SEALs vigilantly watched for enemy activity, an insurgent threw a hand grenade from an unseen location, which bounced off Petty Officer Monsoor’s chest and landed in front of him. Although only he could have escaped the blast, Petty Officer Monsoor chose instead to protect his teammates.  Instantly and without regard for his own safety, he threw himself onto the grenade to absorb the force of the explosion with his body, saving the lives of his two teammates. By his undaunted courage, fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of certain death, Petty Officer Monsoor gallantly gave his life for his country, thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Navy SEAL Dies Saving Comrades
Associated Press  |  October 14, 2006
CORONADO, Calif. - A Navy SEAL sacrificed his life to save his comrades by throwing himself on top of a grenade Iraqi insurgents tossed into their sniper hideout, fellow members of the elite force said.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor had been near the only door to the rooftop structure Sept. 29 when the grenade hit him in the chest and bounced to the floor, said four SEALs who spoke to The Associated Press this week on condition of anonymity because their work requires their identities to remain secret.

"He never took his eye off the grenade, his only movement was down toward it," said a 28-year-old lieutenant who sustained shrapnel wounds to both legs that day. "He undoubtedly saved mine and the other SEALs' lives, and we owe him."

Monsoor, a 25-year-old gunner, was killed in the explosion in Ramadi, west of Baghdad. He was only the second SEAL to die in Iraq since the war began.

Two SEALs next to Monsoor were injured; another who was 10 to 15 feet from the blast was unhurt. The four had been working with Iraqi soldiers providing sniper security while U.S. and Iraqi forces conducted missions in the area.

In an interview at the SEALs' West Coast headquarters in Coronado, four members of the special force remembered "Mikey" as a loyal friend and a quiet, dedicated professional.

"He was just a fun-loving guy," said a 26-year-old petty officer 2nd class who went through the grueling 29-week SEAL training with Monsoor. "Always got something funny to say, always got a little mischievous look on his face."

Other SEALS described the Garden Grove, Calif., native as a modest and humble man who drew strength from his family and his faith. His father and brother are former Marines, said a 31-year-old petty officer 2nd class.

Prior to his death, Monsoor had already demonstrated courage under fire. He has been posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his actions May 9 in Ramadi, when he and another SEAL pulled a team member shot in the leg to safety while bullets pinged off the ground around them.

Monsoor's funeral was held Thursday at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego. He has also been submitted for an award for his actions the day he died.

The first Navy SEAL to die in Iraq was Petty Officer 2nd Class Marc A. Lee, 28, who was killed Aug. 2 in a firefight while on patrol against insurgents in Ramadi. Navy spokesman Lt. Taylor Clark said the low number of deaths among SEALs in Iraq is a testament to their training.

Sixteen SEALs have been killed in Afghanistan. Eleven of them died in June 2005 when a helicopter was shot down near the Pakistan border while ferrying reinforcements for troops pursuing al-Qaida militants.

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*MURPHY, MICHAEL P.

 

Rank and Organization: Lieutenant, U.S. Navy, SEAL. Place and date: Asadabad, Konar Province, Afghanistan, 27-28 June 2005. Entered service at: Patchogue, NY. Born: 7 May, 1976, Smithtown, NY. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as the leader of a special reconnaissance element with Naval Special Warfare Task Unit Afghanistan on 27 and 28 June 2005. While leading a mission to locate a high-level anti-coalition militia leader, Lieutenant Murphy demonstrated extraordinary heroism in the face of grave danger in the vicinity of Asadabad, Konar Province, Afghanistan. On 28 June 2005, operating in an extremely rugged enemy-controlled area, Lieutenant Murphy’s team was discovered by anti-coalition militia sympathizers who revealed their position to Taliban fighters. As a result, between 30 and 40 enemy fighters besieged his four-member team. Demonstrating exceptional resolve, Lieutenant Murphy valiantly led his men in engaging the large enemy force. The ensuing fierce firefight resulted in numerous enemy casualties, as well as the wounding of all four members of the team. Ignoring his own wounds and demonstrating exceptional composure, Lieutenant Murphy continued to lead and encourage his men. When the primary communicator fell mortally wounded, Lieutenant Murphy repeatedly attempted to call for assistance for his beleaguered teammates. Realizing the impossibility of communicating in the extreme terrain, and in the face of almost certain death, he fought his way into open terrain to gain a better position to transmit a call. This deliberate, heroic act deprived him of cover, exposing him to direct enemy fire. Finally achieving contact with his headquarters, Lieutenant Murphy maintained his exposed position while he provided his location and requested immediate support for his team. In his final act of bravery, he continued to engage the enemy until he was mortally wounded, gallantly giving his life for his country and for the cause of freedom. By his selfless leadership, courageous actions, and extraordinary devotion to duty, Lieutenant Murphy reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

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LIEUTENANT MICHAEL P. MURPHY
UNITED STATES NAVY

FOR SERVICE AS SET FORTH IN THE FOLLOWING

CITATION:

FOR CONSPICUOUS GALLANTRY AND INTREPIDITY AT THE RISK OF HIS LIFE ABOVE AND BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY AS THE LEADER OF A SPECIAL RECONNAISSANCE ELEMENT WITH NAVAL SPECIAL WARFARE TASK UNIT AFGHANISTAN ON 27 AND 28 JUNE 2005. WHILE LEADING A MISSION TO LOCATE A HIGH-LEVEL ANTI-COALITION MILITIA LEADER, LIEUTENANT MURPHY DEMONSTRATED EXTRAORDINARY HEROISM IN THE FACE OF GRAVE DANGER IN THE VICINITY OF ASADABAD, KONAR PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN. ON 28 JUNE 2005, OPERATING IN AN EXTREMELY RUGGED ENEMY-CONTROLLED AREA, LIEUTENANT MURPHY’S TEAM WAS DISCOVERED BY ANTI-COALITION MILITIA SYMPATHIZERS, WHO REVEALED THEIR POSITION TO TALIBAN FIGHTERS. AS A RESULT, BETWEEN 30 AND 40 ENEMY FIGHTERS BESIEGED HIS FOUR-MEMBER TEAM. DEMONSTRATING EXCEPTIONAL RESOLVE, LIEUTENANT MURPHY VALIANTLY LED HIS MEN IN ENGAGING THE LARGE ENEMY FORCE. THE ENSUING FIERCE FIREFIGHT RESULTED IN NUMEROUS ENEMY CASUALTIES, AS WELL AS THE WOUNDING OF ALL FOUR MEMBERS OF THE TEAM. IGNORING HIS OWN WOUNDS AND DEMONSTRATING EXCEPTIONAL COMPOSURE, LIEUTENANT MURPHY CONTINUED TO LEAD AND ENCOURAGE HIS MEN. WHEN THE PRIMARY COMMUNICATOR FELL MORTALLY WOUNDED, LIEUTENANT MURPHY REPEATEDLY ATTEMPTED TO CALL FOR ASSISTANCE FOR HIS BELEAGUERED TEAMMATES. REALIZING THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF COMMUNICATING IN THE EXTREME TERRAIN, AND IN THE FACE OF ALMOST CERTAIN DEATH, HE FOUGHT HIS WAY INTO OPEN TERRAIN TO GAIN A BETTER POSITION TO TRANSMIT A CALL. THIS DELIBERATE, HEROIC ACT DEPRIVED HIM OF COVER, EXPOSING HIM TO DIRECT ENEMY FIRE. FINALLY ACHIEVING CONTACT WITH HIS HEADQUARTERS, LIEUTENANT MURPHY MAINTAINED HIS EXPOSED POSITION WHILE HE PROVIDED HIS LOCATION AND REQUESTED IMMEDIATE SUPPORT FOR HIS TEAM. IN HIS FINAL ACT OF BRAVERY, HE CONTINUED TO ENGAGE THE ENEMY UNTIL HE WAS MORTALLY WOUNDED, GALLANTLY GIVING HIS LIFE FOR HIS COUNTRY AND FOR THE CAUSE OF FREEDOM. BY HIS SELFLESS LEADERSHIP, COURAGEOUS ACTIONS, AND EXTRAORDINARY DEVOTION TO DUTY, LIEUTENANT MURPHY REFLECTED GREAT CREDIT UPON HIMSELF AND UPHELD THE HIGHEST TRADITIONS OF THE UNITED STATES NAVAL SERVICE.

SIGNED GEORGE W. BUSH

 


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McGINNIS, ROSS A.

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.
G.O. Number:
Date of Issue: 06/05/2008
Accredited To:
Place / Date: In Adhamiyah, Northeast Baghdad, Iraq, on 4 December 2006
 
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 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.

Official Citation

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, June 2, 2008, has awarded in the name of Congress the Medal of Honor to

Private First Class Ross A. McGinnis

United States Army

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.

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Spc. McGinnis’ dedication to duty and love for his fellow Soldiers were embodied in a statement issued by his parents shortly after his death:

“Ross did not become our hero by dying to save his fellow Soldiers from a grenade. He was a hero to us long before he died, because he was willing to risk his life to protect the ideals of freedom and justice that America represents. He has been recommended for the Medal of Honor… That is not why he gave his life. The lives of four men who were his Army brothers outweighed the value of his one life. It was just a matter of simple kindergarten arithmetic. Four means more than one. It didn’t matter to Ross that he could have escaped the situation without a scratch. Nobody would have questioned such a reflex reaction. What mattered to him were the four men placed in his care on a moment’s notice. One moment he was responsible for defending the rear of a convoy from enemy fire; the next moment he held the lives of four of his friends in his hands. The choice for Ross was simple, but simple does not mean easy. His straightforward answer to a simple but difficult choice should stand as a shining example for the rest of us. We all face simple choices, but how often do we choose to make a sacrifice to get the right answer? The right choice sometimes requires honor.”

Ross Andrew McGinnis was born June 14, 1987 in Meadville, PA. His family moved to Knox, northeast of Pittsburgh, when he was three. There he attended Clarion County public schools, and was a member of the Boy Scouts as a boy. Growing up he played basketball and soccer through the YMCA, and Little League baseball. Ross was a member of the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Knox, and a 2005 graduate of Keystone Junior-Senior High School.

Ross’s interests included video games and mountain biking. He was also a car enthusiast, and took classes at the Clarion County Career Center in automotive technology. He also worked part-time at McDonald’s after school.

His mother, Romayne, said Ross wanted to be a Soldier early in life. When asked to draw a picture of what he wanted to be when he grew up, Ross McGinnis, the kindergartner, drew a picture of a Soldier.

On his 17th birthday, June 14, 2004, Ross went to the Army recruiting station and joined through the delayed entry program.

 

Spc. Ross Andrew McGinnis will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously during a White House ceremony June 2, 2008 (tentative).

After initial entry training at Fort Benning, Georgia, McGinnis was assigned to 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment in Schweinfurt, Germany. According to fellow Soldiers, he loved Soldiering and took his job seriously, but he also loved to make people laugh. One fellow Soldier commented that every time McGinnis left a room, he left the Soldiers in it laughing.

The unit deployed to Eastern Baghdad in August 2006, where sectarian violence was rampant. Ross was serving as an M2 .50 caliber machine gunner in 1st Platoon, C Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment is support of operations against insurgents in Adhamiyah, Iraq.

According to the official report, on the afternoon of Dec. 4, 2006, McGinnis’ platoon was on mounted patrol in Adhamiyah to restrict enemy movement and quell sectarian violence. During the course of the patrol, an unidentified insurgent positioned on a rooftop nearby threw a fragmentation grenade into the Humvee. Without hesitation or regard for his own life, McGinnis threw his back over the grenade, pinning it between his body and the Humvee’s radio mount. McGinnis absorbed all lethal fragments and the concussive effects of the grenade with his own body. McGinnis, who was a private first class at the time, was posthumously promoted to specialist. Spc. McGinnis’s heroic actions and tragic death are detailed in the battlescape section of this website and in his Medal of Honor Citation.

Army Decorations: Medal of Honor (to be presented to Tom and Romayne McGinnis at a June 2, 2008 White House Ceremony), Silver Star (awarded for valor exhibited during the events of Dec. 4, 2006, pending processing and approval of Medal of Honor), Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, and Combat Infantryman Badge.

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MedalofHonor

Other Military Medals 2005

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