“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, June 02, 2008

PFC Ross A. McGinnis

How great the brave who rest in peace,
All blessings from heaven to earth.
They gave our country but their best,
Those destined to be brave from birth.
from Remembering our Fallen Heroes by Tom Zart.


Rank and Organization: Private First Class, United States Army
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:
Private First Class Ross A. McGinnis 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.
Arlington National Cemetary Website

Add another citation to the headstone: Medal of Honor.


  1. Take a long look at the face of that kid.

    His father said that all Ross ever wanted to be was a soldier.

    What a soldier he was!

  2. They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;

    Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

    At the going down of the sun and in the morning

    We will remember them.

    From "For the Fallen" by Laurence Binyon

  3. RIP PFC McGinnis.

    You were made of something most men will never know.

  4. Home of the free because of the brave.

  5. Cpl. Ismel Sanchez, 25, of Greensboro, N.C., was driving the lead vehicle in the convoy on the day McGinnis died.

    The pair met in December 2005 shortly after Sanchez joined Company C and partied together at German nightclubs before they deployed, he said.

    "He was the go-getter of all the girls. He’d go out there and dance and have fun and that attracts the ladies," Sanchez said.

    Deserving of the Honor

  6. Was there a man dismay'd ?

    Not tho' the soldier knew

    Someone had blunder'd:

    Their's not to make reply,

    Their's not to reason why,

    Their's but to do and die:


    Storm'd at with shot and shell,

    Boldly they rode and well,

    Into the jaws of Death,

    Into the mouth of Hell

  7. Foreign troops will soon be overseeing training at the Joint Multinational Training Center, with the creation of a multinational observer/controller team.

    Col. Thomas Vandal — who relinquished command of the JMRC Operations Group on Friday — said a 27-man multinational observer/controller team will be ready for action in 2009.


    Along with the increase in multinational training JMRC will increase its joint training, he said.

    For example, this summer Marines will be integrated into a pre-deployment exercise of the 172nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, said Vandal, whose next assignment is as assistant to the 3rd Infantry Division commander at Fort Stewart, Ga.

    New Team

  8. Being at a loss for words, I just add my thank you, and greatest respect.

  9. The call-up of the National Guard for deployments to Afghanistan will draw on about 14,000 troops from Texas, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Tennessee. In addition, the Pentagon said it had alerted more than 3,100 soldiers from the Vermont National Guard to be prepared to deploy to Afghanistan in the spring of 2010 to help train the Afghan army.

    About 33,000 American soldiers and Marines are in Afghanistan, and about 155,000 are in Iraq.

    The active-duty Army deployments will involve about 25,000 soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division and brigade combat teams of the 4th Infantry Division, the 1st Infantry Division, the 82nd Airborne Division, the 1st Cavalry Division and the 172nd Infantry Brigade.

    Fall Deployment

  10. This is sort of on the topic. Thomas Sowell On Obama and Defense

    PFC Ross A. McGinnis and Obama inhabit different worlds.

  11. [...]

    And what sort of soldiers are those you are to lead? Are they reliable? Are they brave? Are they capable of victory?

    Their story is known to all of you. It is the story of the American man at arms. My estimate of him was formed on the battlefields many, many years ago, and has never changed. I regarded him then, as I regard him now, as one of the world's noblest figures; not only as one of the finest military characters, but also as one of the most stainless.

    His name and fame are the birthright of every American citizen. In his youth and strength, his love and loyalty, he gave all that mortality can give. He needs no eulogy from me, or from any other man. He has written his own history and written it in red on his enemy's breast.

    But when I think of his patience under adversity, of his courage under fire, and of his modesty in victory, I am filled with an emotion of admiration I cannot put into words. He belongs to history as furnishing one of the greatest examples of successful patriotism. He belongs to posterity as the instructor of future generations in the principles of liberty and freedom. He belongs to the present, to us, by his virtues and by his achievements.

    In twenty campaigns, on a hundred battlefields, around a thousand campfires, I have witnessed that enduring fortitude, that patriotic self-abnegation, and that invincible determination which have carved his statue in the hearts of his people.


  12. The deploying brigades will be among the first to resume serving 12-month deployments. To support the surge strategy, the U.S. military had extended deployments to 15 months.

    The active-duty brigades to be deployed are: 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, from Fort Carson, Colo.; 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, from Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, from Fort Riley, Kan.; 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, from Fort Bragg, N.C.; 172nd Infantry Brigade from Schweinfurt, Germany; 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, from Fort Hood, Texas; and the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, from Fort Wainwright, Alaska.

    The National Guard brigades will have "a secure force mission," primarily securing bases and convoys, Whitman said. Those units are: 72nd Brigade Combat Team, Texas National Guard; 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division, Pennsylvania National Guard; 256th Brigade Combat Team, Louisiana National Guard; and the 278th Brigade Combat Team, Tennessee National Guard.

    Brigades to Iraq

  13. Home of the free because of the brave.

    Breaking the thread, but with PFC Ross A. MccGinnis in mind--

    There may be a couple of upsets tomorrow, in S. Dakota, and Montana

    South Dakota and Montana are the last contests of the Democratic primary season that ends on Tuesday, 3 June. Sen. Hillary Clinton has a huge lead over Obama in South Dakota, while Sen. Barack Obama has an edge over Clinton in Montana; that’s what the new Montana / South Dakota Polls say –

    American Research Group’s South Dakota Poll conducted from 31 May to 1 June shows Clinton leading Obama by 24 % points – 60% to 34% among the South Dakota Democratic primary voters. Conducted on 600 registered Democratic voters of South Dakota, the poll – with Margin of Error ±4 %, indicates a huge victory for Clinton.

    American Research Group’s Montana Poll conducted from 31 May to 1 June shows Obama leading Clinton by 4 % points – 48% to 44% among the Montana Democratic primary voters. Conducted on 600 registered Democratic voters of Montana, the poll – with Margin of Error ±4 %, indicates a close contest and Obama’s thin margin win over Clinton.

    According to the guest on C2C tonite, Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Dr. George Vaillant, discussing his work on the scientific effects of positive emotions, as well as his new book Spiritual Evolution, God is a verb, not a noun, that is to say active love. His book sounds like it might well be a good read, and worth the money.