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First Name: John

Last Name: McGinty

Birthplace: Boston, MA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Home of Record: Louisville, KY
Middle Name: James

Date of Birth: 21 January 1940

Rank: Captain

Years Served: 1957-1976
John James McGinty III

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


John James McGinty III
Captain, U.S. Marine Corps
Medal of Honor Recipient
Vietnam War

Captain John James McGinty III is a retired U.S. Marine Corps officer who was awarded the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for heroism during July 1966 in the Vietnam War.

John James McGinty III was born on 21 January 1940 in Boston, MA. He completed grammar school in Louisville, KY in 1955, and attended high school in Louisville for a year and a half prior to enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve on 19 February 1957. After he was discharged from the Marine Corps Reserve, he enlisted in the Marine Corps and went on active duty 3 March 1958.

He completed recruit training with the 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, SC; and advanced infantry combat training with Company M, 3rd Battalion, 1st Infantry Training Regiment, Camp Lejeune, NC. He was promoted to Private First Class in September 1957, and was transferred to the 7th Infantry Company, USMCR, Louisville, KY, to serve as a rifleman until March 1958.

Private First Class McGinty completed the Noncommissioned Officers Leadership School, Camp Pendleton, CA in May 1958. He was then ordered to Marine Barracks, U.S. Naval Station, Kodiak, AK until May 1959. While stationed in Alaska, he was promoted to Corporal in September 1958.

Transferred to the 1st Marine Division in June 1959, he saw duty as a rifleman leader, and later, squad leader with Company I, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines. Upon his return to the United States, he served as Guard/Company Police Sergeant, H&S Battalion, FMF, Atlantic, at Norfolk, VA, until March 1962.

From there, he was ordered to Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC, and assigned duty as Drill Instructor, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion. He was promoted to Sergeant in August 1962.

From November 1964 until December 1965, Sgt McGinty saw duty as Assistant Brig Warden, Marine Barracks, U.S. Naval Base, Norfolk, VA.

Sergeant McGinty was ordered to the West Coast for transfer to the Far East. Joining the 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division, in the Republic of Vietnam in April 1966, he served successively as a platoon sergeant and platoon commander, Company K, 3rd Battalion, as S-2 Officer and Operation Chief, H&S Company, 3rd Battalion, and as Operations Chief, with Headquarters Company, 4th Marines. It was in 1966, during Operation Hastings, that McGinty distinguished himself in the actions for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to


for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Acting Platoon Leader, First Platoon, Company K, Third Battalion, Fourth Marines, Third Marine Division, in the Republic of Vietnam on 18 July 1966. Second Lieutenant (then Staff Sergeant) McGinty's platoon, which was providing rear security to protect the withdrawal of the battalion from a position which had been under attack for three days, came under heavy small arms, automatic weapons and mortar fire from an estimated enemy regiment. With each successive human wave which assaulted his thirty-two-man platoon during the four- hour battle, Second Lieutenant McGinty rallied his men to beat off the enemy. In one bitter assault, two of the squads became separated from the remainder of the platoon. With complete disregard for his safety, Second Lieutenant McGinty charged through intense automatic weapons and mortar fire to their position. Finding twenty men wounded and the medical corpsmen 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 five 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 fifty yards of his position. This destructive fire power routed the enemy, who left an estimated 500 bodies on the battlefield. Second Lieutenant 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 United States Naval Service.


Upon his return to the U.S. in May 1967, he reported to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC. He served as a drill instructor until his promotion to second lieutenant on 8 August 1967. The following day, he assumed his assignment as Series Officer, 1st Recruit Battalion, at the Recruit Depot, Parris Island.

On 12 March 1968, President Lyndon Johnson presented the Medal of Honor to 2ndLt McGinty in a ceremony at the White House in which fellow Marine Robert J. Modrzejewski was also honored.

Captain McGinty retired from the Marine Corps in October 1976.

In the 1980s McGinty felt that there was a conflict between wearing his Medal of Honor (which bears the image of the Roman goddess Minerva) and his new-found Christian faith. Some news agencies reported that McGinty wanted to return his Medal of Honor.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Purple Heart
Good Conduct Medal with 2 Bronze Stars
Combat Action Ribbon
Navy Presidential Unit Citation
National Defense Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal with 2 Bronze Stars
Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal


On 19 May 2004, the South Carolina General Assembly passed Bill 5281, a resolution "commend[ing] the extraordinary heroism of Marine Staff Sergeant John J. McGinty III, a native of Massachusetts who entered the service in SC, and who was awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam Conflict for Valor."

Honoree ID: 1024   Created by: MHOH




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