The Personal Website of Ronald Huereca

Showing My Respect to a Brave Young Soldier

On December 4th, 2006, A young Soldier was manning the machine gun in an armored Humvee in the Azamiyah neighborhood in Baghdad, Iraq. Suddenly an insurgent from above the Humvee pitched a grenade towards the machine gunner. The grenade went down the gunner’s hatch inside the Humvee. Within this Humvee were four other Soldiers. The young machine gunner had seconds to react.

Ross Andrew McGinnis

McGinnis was the type of guy that liked video games and mountain biking. Although not the best student, McGinnis was highly intelligent and was very willing to serve his country. On the day McGinnis turned seventeen, he signed up for the Army in the Delayed Enlistment Program. What the Delayed Enlistment Program allowed him to do was reserve a slot for basic training. He was that willing to join the Army.

For a rather skinny guy (6 feet tall at 136 pounds), McGinnis could pack a mean punch. According to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, McGinnis was an expert shot shooting left-handed, and a sharpshooter shooting right-handed. McGinnis’s company (Charlie) was responsible for squashing violence after Saddam’s verdict.

The Grenade

When the grenade fell through the hatch, it became lodged near the radio at McGinnis’s feet. McGinnis had one clear choice. Since he was in the gunner position, he could have easily escaped the Humvee and spared his own life.

It would not have been possible for the other Soldiers to react in time to throw the grenade from the vehicle. If McGinnis was to spare his life, it would be knowing that four of his fellow Soldiers would likely be killed in the explosion.

The Reaction

McGinnis yelled, “Grenade! It’s in the truck!”

McGinnis then placed his back against the grenade (laying on it with his body armor) in order to shield his fellow Soldiers from the blast. McGinnis lost his life in the explosion while the other Soldiers escaped with minor injuries.

The Aftermath

For his bravery, McGinnis was awarded the Silver Star. He is currently nominated for a Medal of Honor.

For pictures of Pfc. McGinnis, please check out his War Heroes profile.

This incident happened a little over five months ago. I found out about it in Slate.

Writer and software engineer Ronald Huereca has been a developer at notable agencies like iThemes and 10up. His varied background has him working with WordPress since 2006, eventually creating his own plugin which, of course, lead to more. He spends quite a bit of his time volunteering with the WordPress project as a core and polyglot contributor. With all of his passions, writing has been the way Ronald expresses himself best. He has written both technical books as well as fiction. Some of his works include Project Mayhem, Mindefusement, and WordPress and Ajax. “You can only delay the inevitable” is his favorite quote. Ronald enjoys reading Stephen King and John Grisham. When he’s not writing, Ronald dreams of building websites filled with cats yawning, disclaimers his strong opinions, sings karaoke, and advocates for empathy surrounding mental health.

3 thoughts on “Showing My Respect to a Brave Young Soldier”

  1. Thank you for the comments and the link (Mr. Freeberg).

    This Soldier is definitely an inspiration. Looking at the pictures was also hard because the guy seems to be smiling no matter what.

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