The Infantry Honors
Specialist Ross A. McGinnis
1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Division
Medal of Honor
Operation Iraqi Freedom
14 June 2009Specialist Ross A. McGinnis distinguished himself by acts of gallantry, and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with an armed enemy in Adhamiyah, Northeast Baghdad, Iraq, on 4 December 2006. On that day, his platoon was conducting combat control operations in an effort to reduce and control sectarian violence in the area. While Specialist McGinnis was manning his M2 .50-caliber Machine Gun, a fragmentation grenade thrown by an insurgent fell through the gunner's hatch into his 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, Specialist McGinnis made the courageous decision to protect his crew. In a selfless act of bravery in which he was mortally wounded, Specialist McGinnis covered the live grenade, pinning it between his boot and the vehicle and absorbing most of the explosion.
Specialist McGinnis gallant action directly saved four men from certain serious injury or death. Specialist 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, and the First Infantry Division "Big Red One", and the United States Army.Specialist McGinnis trained to be an infantry soldier at Fort Benning, Georgia with the 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment.