- Apr 1, 2007
PFC Ross McGinnis
WASHINGTON - MAY 23 2008 — The White House announced Friday that a Pennsylvania soldier who jumped on top of a grenade in Iraq and saved the lives of his comrades will posthumously receive the Medal of Honor.
The nation's highest military honor will be given to 19-year-old Army Pfc. Ross McGinnis of Knox, Pa., on June 2.
McGinnis "distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism," said White House deputy press secretary Tony Fratto.
McGinnis was perched in the gunner's hatch of a Humvee on Dec. 4, 2006 when a grenade sailed past him and into the truck where four other soldiers sat. He shouted a warning to the others, then jumped on the grenade. The grenade, which was lodged near the vehicle's radio, blew up and killed him.
Lt. Col. Anne Edgecomb, an Army spokeswoman, said McGinnis easily could have jumped out of the truck and saved himself.
"The instinct is, jump out of the vehicle, but his four buddies were in the vehicle with him ... and he chose to place himself on top of the grenade and absorb the impact, and it saved their lives," Edgecomb said.