SPC Ross McGinnis (MOH) - 1st Infantry Division

SPC Ross McGinnis (MOH) - 1st Infantry Division

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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, 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.


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.


Army Decorations: 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.


$5 from each set of SPC McGinnis wraps sold will benefit The GallantFew.

*Hand wash with mild soap and air dry