Schweinfurt remembers Spc. Ross McGinnis
Schweinfurt Soldier Spc. Ross McGinnis from 1st Infantry Division was the second U.S. Soldier to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq. The Schweinfurt community remembers McGinnis, who died Dec. 4, 2006 when he threw his back over a grenade to save his crew.

SCHWEINFURT, Germany (Dec. 4, 2013) -- December 4 marks the anniversary former Schweinfurt Soldier Spc. Ross Andrew McGinnis was killed in action when he covered a live grenade to protect his crew. McGinnis, who was from 1st Infantry Division, was the second U.S. Soldier to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq. The Schweinfurt community remembers.

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.

After initial entry training at Fort Benning, Ga., 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, in 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 the Medal of Honor Citation website.

His Army decorations include the Medal of Honor, Silver Star, 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.

Page last updated Wed December 4th, 2013 at 08:14