Friday, January 24, 2014

Fullbore Friday

Paul Vitello has a nicely done obit in NYT of a quiet hero from the Vietnam War.
Mr. McGinty, who joined the service in 1958 directly after high school, was a drill instructor at the Marine boot camp in Parris Island, S.C., and a brig officer at the Norfolk, Va., naval base before volunteering for duty in Vietnam in 1966.

“I didn’t want to be earning my pay guarding a bunch of AWOL sailors,” he told Edwin F. Murphy, author of the 1987 book “Vietnam Medal of Honor Heroes.”

Mr. McGinty led one of four platoons in Company K of the Third Battalion, Third Marine Division, during a major sortie in July 1966 known as Operation Hastings. The mission was to block North Vietnamese troops from infiltrating the demilitarized zone between the Communist-led North and the American-backed South.

After three days of fighting and severe casualties, American commanders ordered a withdrawal. The four platoons of Company K, led by Capt. Robert J. Modrzejewski, were assigned to provide cover for the pullback.
Attention to Citation:
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.
Well done Captain ... well done.

... and yes; any citation that has "attacking hordes" in it is well worthy of FbF.

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