Medal of Honor
McGINTY, JOHN J. III
Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant (then S/Sgt.), U.S. Marine Corps, Company K, 3d Battalion, 4th Marines, 3d Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force
Place and date: Republic of Vietnam, 18 July 1966
Entered service at: Laurel Bay, South Carolina
Born: 21 January 1940, Boston, Massachusetts
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. 2d Lt. McGinty's platoon, which was providing rear security to protect the withdrawal of the battalion from a position which had been under attack for 3 days, came under heavy small arms, automatic weapons and mortar fire from an estimated enemy regiment. With each successive human wave which assaulted his 32-man platoon during the 4-hour battle, 2d Lt. McGinty rallied his men to beat off the enemy. In 1 bitter assault, 2 of the squads became separated from the remainder of the platoon. With complete disregard for his safety, 2d Lt. McGinty charged through intense automatic weapons and mortar fire to their position. Finding 20 men wounded and the medical corpsman killed, he quickly reloaded ammunition magazines and weapons for the wounded men and directed their fire upon the enemy. Although he was painfully wounded as he moved to care for the disabled men, he continued to shout encouragement to his troops and to direct their fire so effectively that the attacking hordes were beaten off. When the enemy tried to out-flank his position, he killed 5 of them at point-blank range with his pistol. When they again seemed on the verge of overrunning the small force, he skillfully adjusted artillery and air strikes within 50 yards of his position. This destructive firepower routed the enemy, who left an estimated 500 bodies on the battlefield. 2d Lt. McGinty's personal heroism, indomitable leadership, selfless devotion to duty, and bold fighting spirit inspired his men to resist the repeated attacks by a fanatical enemy, reflected great credit upon himself, and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service.
Thanks to LT. Luis Lopez, for the above photo.
The following message from Roger Williamson was received on 15 November 1999:
I have just recently acquired a computer and was curious about the Medal of Honor I had been told J. J. McGinty was awarded.
Congratulations to him.
I was with Mr. McGinty on July 18, 1966 and believe I was in one of the two squads that had become separated.
I was wounded, quite severely, and was real lucky to make it out alive. I honestly do not remember Mr. McGinty personally, but do remember him by name.
I am proud to have served with this Medal of Honor recipient.
I would be interested in hearing from him or anybody else that served with me in K Co. 3/4 4th Marines.
Roger Williamson (former PFC)
This message was received on 1 June 2001:
DEAR NEIL ....... THANKS FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO READ ABOUT ALL THE MEDAL OF HONOR WINNERS. I SERVED AS AN ENGINEER PLT. CMDR. UNDER JJ MCGINTY IN 1974-75. HE WAS THE H&S COMPANY CMDR. IN A BATTALLION LANDING TEAM TO WHICH I WAS ATTACHED. WE DEPARTED FROM OKINAWA AND ENDED UP INVOLVED IN OPERATIONS EAGLE PULL AND FREQUENT WIND,DURING THE FALL OF SAIGON,1975. IN FACT, I TOOK HIM TO THE AIRPORT IN SUBIC BAY,THE PHILLIPPINES FOR EVACUATION BACK TO THE STATES AFTER WE HAD DROPPED OFF THE REFUGEES IN GUAM AND GRANDE ISLAND. THAT WAS THE LAST TIME I HAD SEEN OR HEARD FROM HIM. THE CAPT. MCGINTY I KNEW WAS A VERY COLORFUL INDIVIDUAL FOR WHOM I HAD GREAT RESPECT AND ADMIRATION.
IT TRUELY WAS A PLEASURE AND GREAT EXPERIENCE SERVING WITH ONE OF AMERICA'S NATIONAL HEROES ! I OFTEN THINK ABOUT HIM AND THE OTHER OFFICERS AND MEN OF THAT BLT FROM THE NINTH MARINES. IT WOULD BE GREAT TO SEE THEM ALL AGAIN !
JEFFREY HUNTER 1/LT .
2ND PLT, BRAVO COMPANY
8TH ENGR. SUPPORT BN. .
3RD MAR DIV
This message was received on 1 July 2001:
I have recently come across the web-page listing the Medal of Honor recipients from the Vietnam War. I was guided to this location from and email that I received from a Marine that I had served with in Vietnam during 1966-67.
I was in "K" Company, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines from the time I joined up with them in Okinawa, in January 1966, (returning to Vietnam a few weeks later) until around September of 1966 (I was then transferred to "Mike" Company 3Bn/4thMarines and completed my 2nd tour there in November 1967). During the time that I was in "K" Company, I was in Lt. John J. McGinty's (he was then a Staff Sergeant) platoon for awhile. I don't recall how long, but I do remember being in his platoon as part of a machine gun crew. I was on Operations Hastings with this platoon and recall the several battles with the Viet Cong and the NVA. I don't recall specifically where I was during the battle that Lt. McGinty won his Medal of Honor for, but I do recall that he was a stimulating force for all those guys who were fighting for their lives that day. He seemed to be everywhere at once, rallying us Marines and making sure everyone had plenty of ammunition to carry them through. He also made sure that our fighting spirits remained high by creating a "can do" attitude among us.
Not only did I serve with Lt. McGinty, I also had the pleasure of serving with Major (then a Captain) Robert J. Modrzjewski who also received the Medal of Honor for the same battles that occured on Operation Hastings. These two fighting Marines will always live in my memory as "hero's" of that day. Their spirit, courage and leadership kept most of us alive during those fateful days.
It was, indeed, an honor and a real pleasure to have served with such fine Marines.
Congratulations to Lt. John J. McGinty on his award. I wish him, and his family, all the very best that life has to offer.
I would enjoy hearing from anyone that served in his platoon during the Vietnam war (1966-67)
Roger D. Kimble (then a PFC)
"K" Company, 3Bn/4thMar/3rdMarDiv
Now living in:
Cedar Hill, Texas
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