This came up as a topic on ARF last night. It’s a question I have heard and read many times over the years. The answer would seem to be a solid NO but that isn’t the case depending on type of grenade and circumstances.
Why would you even do such a thing? Well, to save other people. There are people out there who without hesitation have done it. It may seem creazy to some. But I bet if you thought about it, there are at least a few people out there you would give your life to protect when there was no time left to do anything else. Your, wife or kids, Nancy Pelosi, your pet frog or favorite bow up doll. Whatever I’m not judging you. Only one person I would do this for. ( not Polosi)
JASON L. DUNHAM
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
for service as set forth in the following
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Rifle Squad Leader, 4th Platoon, Company K, Third
Battalion, Seventh Marines (Reinforced), Regimental Combat Team 7, First Marine
Division (Reinforced), on 14 April 2004. Corporal Dunham’s squad was conducting a reconnaissance mission in the town of Karabilah, Iraq, when they heard rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire erupt approximately two kilometers to the west.
Corporal Dunham led his Combined Anti-Armor Team towards the engagement to provide fire support to their Battalion Commander’s convoy, which had been ambushed as it was traveling to Camp Husaybah. As Corporal Dunham and his Marines advanced, they quickly began to receive enemy fire. Corporal Dunham ordered his squad to dismount their vehicles and led one of his fire teams on foot several blocks south of the ambushed convoy. Discovering seven Iraqi vehicles in a column attempting to depart, Corporal Dunham and his team stopped the vehicles to search them for weapons. As they approached the vehicles, an insurgent leaped out and attacked Corporal Dunham. Corporal Dunham wrestled the insurgent to the ground and in the ensuing struggle saw the insurgent release a grenade. Corporal Dunham immediately alerted his fellow Marines to the threat. Aware of the imminent danger and without hesitation, Corporal Dunham covered the grenade with his helmet and body, bearing the brunt of the explosion and shielding his Marines from the blast. In an ultimate and selfless act of bravery in which he was mortally wounded, he saved the lives of at least two fellow Marines. By his undaunted courage, intrepid fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty, Corporal Dunham gallantly gave his life for his country, thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
PFC. Ross A. McGinnis.
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, June 2, 2008, has awarded in the name of Congress the Medal of Honor to
Private First Class Ross A. McGinnis
United States Army
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:
Private First Class Ross A. McGinnis distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an M2 .50-caliber Machine Gunner, 1st Platoon, C Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, in connection with combat operations against an armed enemy in Adhamiyah, Northeast Baghdad, Iraq, on 4 December 2006.
That afternoon his platoon was conducting combat control operations in an effort to reduce and control sectarian violence in the area. While Private McGinnis was manning the M2 .50-caliber Machine Gun, a fragmentation grenade thrown by an insurgent fell through the gunner’s hatch into the vehicle. Reacting quickly, he yelled “grenade,” allowing all four members of his crew to prepare for the grenade’s blast. Then, rather than leaping from the gunner’s hatch to safety, Private McGinnis made the courageous decision to protect his crew. In a selfless act of bravery, in which he was mortally wounded, Private McGinnis covered the live grenade, pinning it between his body and the vehicle and absorbing most of the explosion.
Private McGinnis’ gallant action directly saved four men from certain serious injury or death. Private First Class McGinnis’ extraordinary heroism and selflessness at the cost of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
Other’s have done it and survived. Kyle Carpenter did it and lived minus an eye and teeth and a messed up jaw.
He shouldn’t have lived. And in fact, if you were to ask him, he would tell you that at the time he thought for sure this was it, and his number was up.
While they might be few, there are actually many occurrences where persons have flung themselves on a grenade and lived. However, the carnage that results is often extensive and at the very least, it ends the mission for them that day.
But Royal Marine Mathew Croucher threw himself on a grenade, walked away with a bloody nose, and then killed some Taliban later that night. For his actions that day, Croucher would be awarded the George Cross, which is Britain’s second highest military honor.
At first, he flung himself down on his front as one might envision it. But in a remarkable act of clairvoyance, he thought this won’t work and turned himself on his back putting his rucksack in between his body and the grenade. It remains to be seen whether time really does slow down in such moments, but he can recall laying there on his back with his arms and legs tucked in wondering how long it would take for it to go off. Then, with a flash and a bang it exploded.
The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor to
Gunnery Sergeant Allen J. Kellogg Jr.
United States Marine Corps
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 while serving as a platoon sergeant with Company G, in connection with combat operations against the enemy on the night of March 11, 1970. Under the leadership of G/Sgt. Kellogg, a small unit from Company G was evacuating a fallen comrade when the unit came under a heavy volume of small arms and automatic weapons fire from a numerically superior enemy force occupying well-concealed emplacements in the surrounding jungle. During the ensuing fierce engagement, an enemy soldier managed to maneuver through the dense foliage to a position near the Marines, and hurled a hand grenade into their midst which glanced off the chest of G/Sgt. Kellogg. Quick to act, he forced the grenade into the mud in which he was standing, threw himself over the lethal weapon and absorbed the full effects of its detonation with his body thereby preventing serious injury or possible death to several of his fellow Marines. Although suffering multiple injuries to his chest and his right shoulder and arm, G/Sgt. Kellogg resolutely continued to direct the efforts of his men until all were able to maneuver to the relative safety of the company perimeter. By his heroic and decisive action in risking his life to save the lives of his comrades, G/Sgt. Kellogg reflected the highest credit upon himself and upheld the finest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service.
It’s certainly possible. All the men above lived. My Dad told me a story of one of his friends running to a bunker while under mortar attack. One detonated right between his legs mid stride. He didn’t have a scratch on him and the only thing the could fine was a dent in one of his dog tags. I’m sure he also walked away with a lifetime full of nightmares though. Better to be sleepless than dead though.