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MCRD Parris Island

Eastern Recruiting Region

"We Make Marines"
Marine Corps Medal of Honor recipient, Beaufort resident dies at 73

By Staff Sgt. Gregory Thomas | | January 21, 2014

A humble yet decorated Vietnam War hero and Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island veteran died Jan. 17, 2014, at his home in Beaufort, S.C., just down the road from the base where he spent much of his career training future Marines.

Medal of Honor recipient John James McGinty III, 73, retired as a captain in 1976 and stayed in the local area.

He was born Jan. 21, 1940, in Boston, and initially enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in February 1957. McGinty later enlisted in the active-duty Marine Corps in March 1958.

McGinty completed recruit training with 3rd Recruit Training Battalion on Parris Island. He would later return in 1962 as a drill instructor with 2nd Recruit Training Battalion. 

In July 1966, McGinty served in Vietnam with 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division. His platoon was assigned to provide rear security to protect the withdrawl of the battalion whose position had been under attack for the previous three days. McGinty's heroism helped repel a regiment-sized enemy force and saved countless American service members. 

"I don't think I'm a hero," McGinty said in an interview. "I thought a hero's somebody who's supposed to save lives; we killed 'em. We did what we were supposed to do. I'm proud of the platoon."

His actions in the Quang Tri Province of South Vietnam earned him America's top military honor.

"If it were me alone, I probably wouldn't give a damn. But I wear this thing for that platoon," McGinty said of the Medal of Honor he wore. 

After returning from Vietnam, McGinty served another tour on Parris Island as a drill instructor and, after his promotion to second lieutenant, a series officer with 1st Recruit Training Battalion.

McGinty's funeral will be held Jan. 23, 2014, at 1 p.m. at the Beaufort National Cemetery.