MCRD Parris Island --
Medal of Honor recipient John J. McGinty stopped by his old stomping grounds of 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, Friday to share some encouraging words with the Depot's drill instructors.
McGinty, once a drill instructor at the battalion, came to the Depot for the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment Association's reunion.
McGinty and about 240 others, including MOH recipient Navy corpsman Donald Ballard, attended the week's graduation ceremony and continued their day with a base tour.
McGinty left the group to make a special visit to the men training future Marines.
The drill instructors and other training battalion staff were eager to hear his story.
As the humorous and kind white-haired man entered the room an unusual silence took over.
"I introduce to you today, a man that's been on our walls for a pretty long time now,"said Lt. Col. Daren Margolin, referring to McGinty's citation, which is displayed in the battalion's conference room along with other 2 RTBN MOH recipients. We talk to recruits about honor, courage and commitment, all the time, and a Medal of Honor recipient represents all those criteria to a tee."
After the introduction, McGinty began to speak on his experiences as a Marine.
He spoke of his tenure as a drill instructor, training almost 14 platoons, and his transition to becoming an officer.
"I was a recruit here, went to Vietnam and then came back to Parris Island,"McGinty explained. "I picked up a platoon and wacked them around for a couple weeks, and then they called me and said we're going to commission you. "
McGinty explained how he was promoted from gunnery sergeant to lieutenant through a combat commission.
Just that fast, he made the transition from enlisted to officer, he added.
McGinty told of his time as a 2nd RTBN series officer and his following assignment as the general's aide.
"The regimental commander told me,'McGinty, I'm sending you up to be the general's aide.' I said, being commissioned is bad enough, I don't want to be the generals aide," he added with a laugh.
"I was sent for an interview and I said to myself,'Boy I'll get out of this,'" McGinty added.
"So the general interviewed me and he asked me'What do I like to do?'" McGinty explained. "I don't golf, I hate tennis, I only like to fish and hunt, and he said 'John that's wonderful because that's all I do. You're hired.'"
He passed around his medal giving all an opportunity to hold the medal that only a select few Americans still living bear.
"It inspired me hearing his words,"said Pfc. Ricardo Santos, administrative clerk at Recruit Training Regiment. "Not once did he say he was a hero or the greatest man walking. "He stressed being a part of a team."
Santos added that McGinty told the group it was a unit award and he was proud of being able to wear it for them.
After answering questions, McGinty left some words of wisdom for the men.
"Always remember that everything you do as a drill instructor will stay in the minds of a recruits forever,"he explained. "You will see them again, and you may go to battle with them. Make sure you can stand to see them again."
McGinty was presented a picture before his departure, it was of him and one of his recruits who after being trained by McGinty went on to receive the nation's highest award.