Army Spc. Ross McGinnis, Iraq war

McGinnis saved the lives of four fellow soldiers on patrol when his vehicle was attacked in Northeast Baghdad on Dec. 4, 2006.

While McGinnis was manning the .50-caliber machine gun on top of the vehicle, an insurgent threw a fragmentation grenade inside. McGinnis, age 19, yelled “grenade … it’s in the truck!” At this moment, he had the choice to either jump out of the vehicle or cover the grenade and prevent others from injury. Without hesitating, he jumped on the grenade. McGinnis’ platoon sergeant, Cedric Thomas, recounts how he saw McGinnis quickly “pin down” the grenade. Thomas said, “He had time to jump out of the truck … he chose not to.”

McGinnis, a private first class at the time, was posthumously promoted to specialist. Doing what he did was a matter of kindergarten math, McGinnis’ parents said. “The right choice sometimes requires honor.” He was awarded the Medal of Honor on June 6, 2008.

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