PFC Ross A. McGinnis
For those who have served, the ultimate deed of Pfc. McGinnis represents the moment of truth we have all considered: What would I do?
Pfc. McGinnis selflessly chose to answer this question through his actions, dismissing the political and philosophical fluff of words in the process. And for this, the name Ross A. McGinnis will never be forgotten in this veteran’s mind. Rest well, my brother.
McGinnis’ father said the unit commander said McGinnis knew he didn’t have time to throw the grenade back, so he laid down on it on his back, trying to cover it with his body armor.
KNOX â€“ U.S. Army Pfc. Ross A. McGinnis, 19, formerly of Wentlings Corners, who died December 4, 2006 , in Iraq , will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia .
Pfc. McGinnis was killed by a grenade thrown into his vehicle from a rooftop in Baghdad . Pfc. McGinnis, a 2005 Keystone High School graduate, placed himself between the grenade and his four fellow soldiers in the vehicle.
Pfc. McGinnis was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Schweinfurt , Germany .
Pfc. McGinnis is the son of Thomas and Romayne McGinnis of the Knox area. His survivors include two sisters, Rebecca and Katie.
Pfc. McGinnis also is survived by a special friend, Christina Wendel of Ganheim , Bavaria , in Germany .
A military memorial service will be held at St. Paulâ€™s Lutheran Church along Twin Church Road in Knox, with full military honors and pastor Deborah Jacobson officiating. His remains will then be transferred to Arlington National Cemetery in Washington , D.C. The date and time of the memorial service will be announced as soon as possible.
The family suggests for anybody who wishes to make a memorial donation to send something to a service member overseas, a veteran or local service member and present it as a gift from PFC Ross McGinnis. Gifts to Rossâ€™s unit may be sent to: SFC Cedric Thomas, 1st Platoon, C/1-26 IN, Task Force Blue Spader, APO AE 09390-1537.
Lt. Gen. Pete Chiarelli, the outgoing commander of Multinational Corps Iraq, told Pentagon reporters Friday about what happened in the Humvee. McGinnis’ family had not yet been completely notified then, so he did not reveal his name.
“Serving on a combat patrol as a Humvee gunner, the soldier saw a hand grenade coming at his vehicle and tried to deflect it. He was unsuccessful. The grenade slipped past him and into the truck that he was riding in. He shouted, ‘Grenade!’ and began to jump out of the truck per the standard grenade drill that the unit had. When he looked back, he saw that no one else inside the truck had heeded his warning, that somehow they had thought that his shouting of ‘Grenade!’ meant that there was a grenade outside the vehicle,” Chiarelli said. “And in a singular act of heroism, this soldier, who was halfway out of the truck, dropped back into the truck and placed his body against that grenade, thereby saving the lives of the four other individuals that were inside that truck.”
KNOX – Members of the Knox community on Wednesday declared one of their own a true hero – the combat soldier Ross A. McGinnis who was killed in Iraq.
McGinnis, 19, represents the first death of a Clarion County resident serving in Iraq.
He was the son of Tom and Romayne McGinnis.
No formal plans for a memorial service have yet been announced.
A casualty assistance officer with the Department of Defense is handling the arrangements.
Those in Clarion County responded quickly to the news announced Tuesday, offering the family their immediate support and helping hands.
McGinnis died from injuries he suffered when a grenade was thrown into his vehicle in Baghdad.
“He was doing what he believed in,” said Judy Zerbe of the county’s veterans affairs office. “We feel very proud for him.”
McGinnis was a 2005 graduate of Keystone High School, and his love of country was clear.
High school Principal Vicky Walters, who is acquainted with his family, said he had enlisted early in his senior year. “Ross was a homegrown hero,” she said. He was focused on completing the requirements for graduation and then going to basic training.
McGinnis returned to Keystone in uniform after completing the training. “It was apparent that he wore his country’s uniform with pride,” Walters said.
McGinnis was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, in Schweinfurt, Germany.
Walters said McGinnis was a gunner on a humvee.
“A grenade was dropped into the humvee from a rooftop,” she said. “Ross was aware of the location where the grenade landed. He did not have time to throw the grenade out of the vehicle. Instead, Ross threw himself onto the grenade to prevent further loss of life of the four other individuals in the vehicle.”
Zerbe said the county department, which is headed by VA director John Reed, plans to meet with the family at a later date to offer assistance. She said she doesn’t think the reality of the situation has sunk in yet for many.
“It’s when a young life is taken that it just really hits home,” Zerbe said. “It makes you numb.”
She is also dealing with the possibility her son, who is a member of the National Guard, may be deployed to Iraq next year. Zerbe said the situation there is made more difficult due to the fact “you don’t know who your enemy is.”
Tom McCoy, who serves as commander for the Knox American Legion, taught McGinnis when he was in ninth grade. McCoy has since retired and currently serves on the school board. “He was always happy and had a smile,” the commander said. “I was saddened” to hear the announcement.
And Clarion County Career Center automotive technology instructor Brent Johnson remembers McGinnis as an outstanding student who participated in the student compass and performed secretary/treasurer duties for the automotive department. “Ross was the type of student that made me proud to be a teacher,” Johnson said. “He will be greatly missed.”
Zerbe said she was told the community support for the family “has been unreal.” “It really shows what kind of community we live in,” she said.
Commissioners Dave Cyphert, Donna Hartle and Donna Oberlander extended their sympathies.
“We all feel very bad about one of Clarion County’s soldiers losing his life while supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom,” Hartle said. “We offer our thoughts and prayers to his family at this difficult time.” “May we all continue to appreciate the efforts of Pfc. Ross McGinnis and for all of our soldiers and troops defending freedom,” she said.
Walters said McGinnis personifies the true meaning of heroism. “So often we hear ‘he gave his life for his country,”‘ she said. “Through his actions, he gave his life for others.”
Table of contents for Ross McGinnis
This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 13th, 2006 at 9:00 am and is filed under Military, Heroes, War on Terror, Iraq, Military, War on Terror, WOT Medal of Honor, Ross McGinnis, War on Terror, WOT Heroes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.