September 11, 2001 is a date that will never be forgotten in the annals of American History. Muslim extremists highjacked commercial airliners which were then flown into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington D.C.
Being in the Army has its perks- free food, housing, travel- the list goes on. However, when you are deployed in wartime situations, sometimes a soldier may not feel that way. I have had the pleasure of being deployed on numerous occasions, some of which only lasted a few days and others lasted almost a year. My second tour in Iraq had to be the most memorable and here is why…
To Whom It May Concern
Camp Liberty, Baghdad 2007
The walk back from the Chapel was different this time. Not because he was in our squad and someone I had spoken to moments before the death, not because this was the fourth casualty our unit had suffered so far this month, the mind somehow blocks those truths out. This was a new emotion, something that many of us must have been feeling for awhile now and yet still managed to keep buried for so long now. This was Hate, pure and simple. Hate for the people, hate for the country, and hate for our damned selves for having to be there.
U.S. Army Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division & IA engaging Insurgents during a firefight in Iraq.
Rank and Organization: Private First Class, United States Army
Date of Issue: 06/05/2008
Date Entered Service: June 14, 2004
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:
Private First Class 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.
LINK: Ross A. McGinnis story — Parents are late Pa. soldier’s ambassadors