Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

Remembering the servicemembers who died in the service of their country.

Marine Sgt. Brian D. McGinnis


23, of St. George, Delaware.
Killed in a UH-1N Huey helicopter crash in Southern Iraq. He was assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA)-169, Marine Aircraft Group-39, Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, California. Died on March 30, 2003.

Thank you to all who have expressed sympathy to the family of Brian McGinnis. My grand nephew and what a special boy and young man he was to us. We just passed the one year mark and we still miss him terribly and can only feel the same pain other family members are feeling as we hear names of their loved ones on the early morning news. Their lives, too, will never be the same. We pray for the military and civilians in the area that the continued dedication of their efforts will meet with amazing results for this downtrodden country. We miss you so much, Brian, but will meet you on the other side of eternity.

Aunt Pat

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"I remember you being a stand up guy, not only a squared away Marine, but overall just a solid dude. You stood out from the other young Marines for your politeness, dependability and physical fitness. Just wanted to thank you for all you gave. Your family should be proud."
Cpl. Edward Guerra of Austin, TX USA

"It's Memorial Day tommorrow... honoring Brian D. McGinnis, USMC... he was taken from us 13 years ago in loyal service protecting America... words do little to understand his courage and sacrifice... Rest eternally in the calm hands of the great Protector. DW, USAF Retired."
David Wagner of Panama City, Florida

"Hey Brian, thanks, again for all you gave. I'm just one of your countrymen. I shared about your life and sacrifice to another young Marine who was supporting his F-18 jets tdy to my USAF Florida base. I told him(George B.) I'd also like to do a little something for him, a marine, too, turns out he needed a guitar, he lost his other one somehow. Anyway, my guitar, amp, stand, etc went back with him on the C-130 to California. He's learning 'Otherside' by RHC Peppers. Turns out, he had got into some trouble before, I think the guitar will give him something to do...so, see you on the other side...June 21, 2013"
David Wagner of Florida

"Sgt McGinnis,
We still miss you. I am humbled and honored to have served with you as a Viper at HMLA-169."
LtCol John Neville of Patuxent River, MD

"Sgt. McGinnis,
On today, the 10th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you to you and your fellow crewmembers for your service and sacrifice for our Country. And to your family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

Semper Fi Devil Dog!"

"McGinnis,

You were a good person, fellow Viper and Marine. I will never forget you and times we all had together ranging from Newton and Goodwins 80's themed party, '99 Okinawa, and just doing what we did best at HMLA-169, getting the mission done! But I will always remember the kindness you and Megan actively showed for freely giving me some of your furniture when you found out I was pregnant and in need of starting up my own place for me and my unborn son at the time. You are missed and always remembered. Semper Fi!"
Annie King, W/C 230 Ord, of Murrieta, California

"McGinnis

Dude....I had great times with ya. I feel a little responsible, yet a little proud. Brian was my nugget fresh out of school. He was the kind of kid that you couldn't make address you by rank. I was the cpl. who basically signed off every square of his Cobra syllabus. He, like me, couldn't wait for the chance to fly them. I don't think they allow enlisted testers anymore. We were the last litter.

I showed him the Huey once he got his plane captain on the Whiskey, and from Lalush picked up where I left off. Before me and Lalush....it was acceptable to take up to two years to be dual qualified. We were the young guns that everyone thought were a fluke by doing it in four months. McGinnis was the first one taught by the hotshots that everyone hated.

From beating you at basketball, you being a sore loser about it and *ing, to our first nights out as freedom keepers in Japan....I'll always remember you. And our strange common interest.

Thanks for never being a dick to me after i got busted down. And letting me borrow Nautica shirts.

I don't believe in Jesus or anything, but i have a theory. That eternal life is for those who are deserving. Earned by having a voice, or living by example in a way that shapes other people that you grace with your meeting them.

You changed how i felt about my service once i got out. I was disgruntled, then somehow your obituary was in The Cincinnati Enquirer, on the rare occasion i looked through one. What are the chances? I felt like i'd been a toy, playing wargames. Busting my * only to be kicked out. But, i shaped you. Into a Crew Chief with Combat A/C wings. And you shaped me, into a proud veteran again. And you shaped your brother, who i see caught the flight bug, also, and joined the Air Force.

I'll sit down one day with my kid, give him his first beer and tell him about serving. Making brothers. Losing brothers. I'll tell him stories about you and Lalush and how war heroes aren't just in old WWII documentaries. And that i had a hand in making one on accident while we rushed to become men, side by side.

Semper Fi.
F/L 310"
Private William Webb of Cincinnati, OH.

"May 1, 2011 Brian, Justice was served today for you and Mike. See you on the other side."
Eric Pignatore of Yuma AZ

"I'm sorry that in my tribute below I misunderstood the date as being Mar 31 and not Mar 30(which was correct). Please forgive me...my condolences to family and friends"
David Wagner, USAF, Ret of Panama City, Florida, USA

"I am just one of the American public you protected, Brian, and ultimately you gave your all for on Mar 31, 2003. Back in Dec 2005 or so as I was preparing for a big Christmas gathering with my wife's side of the family, which are like many other farmer and country families, and I was going to try to bring to their attention many of the faces of the fallen from war(because they never talked about it or seemed to respect it like me) that I had seen on a list on the internet. I wanted to emphasize to them that it was by the soldiers' sacrifices we were able to enjoy Christmas in peace. So, after looking at some of the thousands of lost patriot heroes of the war in Iraq, I printed out about 30 random faces with names on little strips of paper for all of us to put in our wallets or purses and carry with us always! These 30 little pieces of paper went to all kinds of people in that house, left wingers, right wingers, atheists, know it all's, agnostics, church goers, people with a more private relationship with Jesus, just good ole boys, youngsters, probably some racists, and hard working farmers, the usual mix(I guess). I just couldn't stand knowing about our fallen patriotic war heroes each day and all they did for our country and really the whole world, and I couldn't go one more nonchalant complacent Christmas enjoying the fat of the land and not paying respect to those who 'earned' the land for us and then lost everything doing it. I hope those fallen heroes all knew Jesus. Anyway, long story short(not quite), I don't know what the others in that house did with their little strips of paper, but I do know that in the last 6 or so years I have had a picture of only Sgt Brian D. McGinnis, out of all the thousands, in my wallet, along with an old elementary school picture of my son and I guess I do need to put a photo of my new wife in there too. It's been about 6 years since that Christmas, and I just now really have taken the time to read up on young Brian, who loved and left behind a wife and former family on Mar 31, 2003(one of the first casualties of the war). And, now there is a new sadness in my heart..Mar 31, 2003, by coincidence, was the last official day of my active duty service with the USAF, in fuels(I had been stop lossed in the USAF for about a year, and I was about to officially retire the very next day). I'm sure on the evening news that day I heard once again of a tragic loss in Iraq, this time of a helicopter disaster and 4 lives lost. The next day, Apr 1, 2003, I began my comfortable life as a free, retired civilian. I worked a little as a contractor fuels tech for the Navy in Florida, then drove a big rig over the 48 states and Canada for a year, and eventually found a good fuels tech contractor job with the USAF in Florida. It's peculiar that both our birthday's are only a few days apart in June. Anyway, I'm glad there is that list of the names and faces on the internet of the American heroes, not to exclude the Vietnam vets, and others as well. I will go on with my retirement, which I have enjoyed the privilege of buying a home, pick up truck, motorcycle, played with my schnauzer in his big yard until he died, and just enjoying life and paying taxes. I guess to sum it all up, we see anymore that the news is mostly bad, about the war, the stock market, cowardly criminals, treasonous terrorists, dried up jobs, etc....but I think to show a little respect for all those that have given all they had to make America, and actually the world, a better place, we should at least in our hearts 'smile' and say it's a 'good' day, just to show that we appreciate all that they have died or been wounded for, so we can go on living in freedom and happiness(and also fight when needed too). In closing, I'll keep on 'gassn' up the birds on the ground safeley, and Brian, you keep em flyin high safely...I hope to see you in heaven one day...friend..."
David Wagner, USAF, Ret of Panama City, Florida, USA

"I will never forget getting my cdi walk around from you only a short time before you left us. I have seen you on every D/T I have ever done. You inspired me and continue to inspire me still. R.I.P."
Adam Gomez of Boynton Beach, FL, USA

"I will NEVER forget you. Respect to you as a person and NCO in the USMC. Semper Fi Devil!!!""
Cpl Mullins/HMLA 169 '03 of San Diego, Ca

"I still rememeber the warm breeze from the down wash as the bird went over me, It was so low I felt as if I could reach up and touch it. I did not know Brian but I witnessed his death. It still bothers me every day. I just wanted to say rest in peace brother and God speed. I wish I could have done something to save you, that is the hardest part. I am sorry."
SSgt Karl Lewis of Camp Pendleton, CA

"God bless this family and i want to thank you for creating this site it means alot to us that really knew and had the pleasure of serving with Brian."
CPL Brooks of Camp Pendleton CA

"Brian,
I can't believe so much time has passed since your death. These last five years have been so hard. Your memory lives with me everyday. I keep thinking about the last time I saw you right before your final flight. I keep hanging on to the motivation in your voice and your final words/ I wish i could have said more. To all the vipers reading this i love and miss you all so much."
Robin Brooks of Chicago, IL

"my son ,corporal joshua harris, was with hmla 169 until his death 1-22-04.. may you quard the gates of heaven together."
charles harris of new port richey, fl

"Brian, wow i can't believe it was so long ago since you left us. You will be sincerely missed by all, especially by me and Annie!"
SSgt Christopher Ramirez of Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii

"Brian, I can't believe it has been 5 years since you passed away. Just want to let you know we miss you and think about all the good times we had. You are truely missed."
Mickey Mahoney of McGuire AFB, NJ

"Yesterday I saw a bench dedicated to Brian on the promenade at Sea Isle City, NJ. It was an important reminder to me to be thankful to those who unselfishly put themselves in harm's way for me. I decided to look up his information as a tribute to him and to you- his family. God Bless You All!"
Ed of Connecticut

"Brian i Love & miss ya everyday. I smile when i think of us growing up together and our fun days at Genuardis. I will never forget you
Love ya alwyas....."
Laura Smith of New Castle, DE

"July 4, 2007
To the family of Brian D. McGinnis. Brian gave the ultimate sacrifice and will be held in the hearts of Americans forever. I cannot and will not let our fallen heroes be forgotten. My deepest sympathy to you. "Some gave all."
Peggy Childers
"Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away"
www.IraqWarHeroes.org"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"Wow, once again March 30th has come around. Even four years after the accident, this day is always a tough one. I thought it would get easier as time has passed, but I don't think losing your brother ever stops hurting. It took me this long just to finally be able to leave a note on his page. I'll never forget that phone call on the Sunday evening of March 30, 2003. After hanging up the phone, the first thing that went through my mind was mom. I tried to call her, but I just couldn't talk. Then my mind suddenly jumped into the past and a slide show, of sorts, began playing in my head. I remembered all of the good times and the bad times my brother and I shared in life. What a wierd feeling that was. It was like watching home movies in my head. I sure miss you Brian. I can't even tell you how greatful I am that I was able to be home in time to talk to you the night you left for Iraq. Thank you for volunteering to defend our great country and for helping me make the decision to join the Air Force. I'll see you again soon. Thank you to everyone who has expressed memories and feelings for Brian. It's great to know that he was so well liked. Take care Brian, lots of people miss you."
Bill McGinnis of Overland Park, KS

"So many Good memories never any bad!! We had great times together, all three of us. You are missed dearly and thought of often.
A shot of jager is always taken in your memory :-)"
C. Ferguson of NJ

"Its almost been four years brother and i still miss you and Mike."
Cooper of Mosul, Iraq

"i miss you Brian<3"
Amanda of pa

"Brian, we joined the Marines at the same time and were in the delayed entry program together. We went our separate ways after leaving for boot camp. The news of your death deeply troubled me. You will not be forgotten brother."
Paul Doherty of Middletown, DE

"Brian,
I would like to say thank you to you and the other two Marines who were killed in that crash for your service and sacrifice for our Country. And to your family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

Semper Fi Devil Dog!"

"brian you were a good friend to all, and always had something smart to say and kept us laughing. I considered you family and will always remember you. I will always remember the new peppy sharp spoken Marine when he first checked into the shop. We all miss you. A day never goes by that I don't think of you, Lalush, Contreras, and Privette we miss you dearly."
anthony gilleland of CampPedleton Ca

"Despite how much has changed for me and how much time has passed, you are still in my thoughts and prayers, Brian"
John Zambri of Pennsylvania

"Aunt Pat,
its amanda...its so sad that we lost someone so special in our family. He wil always be in my hear and prayers i lvoe him so much"
Amanda Marucci of PA

"Can't believe it has been 3 years since we lost such great friend. You and your family are often in our thoughts as we will never forget you & the great times we shared with you!"
Bill and Tina Quirk

"freedom has a cost, it is paid for by brave warriors in our armed forces. another warrior has report to havens scenes. Semper Fi"

"Feb 3 2003 was when i was told they are going to Iraq for war i cryed . then about a week or two it was time for them to go there was 8 white bus to come pick them up i remember saying bye to most of them Mcginnis was one of them i told him bye see you when you come home .On march 15 i got a phone call at 3am in the moring it was some of the guy calling me to let me now that my husband Drew Bell was coming home i had asked why then Mcginnis got on the phone and told me he got hurt and that he is on his way home to me i told him thank you . then march 19 was the day we hit Iraq a week or two went by and found out that one of the hueys went down from our uint HMLA-169 VIPER about a week later we found out that Sgt. mcginnis and Sgt. Lalush was in the helicoptor . then we had a memorial for them on base it was very emolinal for veryone in the chapel they had his picture up and all you can here is crying the chapel was packed there was people out side the chapel. They had a fly over and it was great that was when i started to cry. I was 5 month preganet it was very hard to see there family go though same think like this i made me sick a little from crying. Sgt.Mcginnis and Sgt. Lalush were very nice guys. we will remember them as marines,friend,soldier. Some of the guys think of mcginnis and lulash as a brother.Now he is gone but never forgotten. we will miss you all and all a good night .
HMLA-169 VIPER SQ.
R.I.P semper fi marines
thank you for your service to this country"
missy bell

"To the family of Sgt McGinnis. I had the great honor of working along side Brain since day one when he checked in to HMLA-169. He was one of the smartest guys we had come though in a long time. I rememeber all the good time we had in Okinanwa he was a funny guy to be around. You will never be forgotten and you will always be in my prayers"
Sgt Lorenzo Robledo of Denver, CO

"Remembering your loss even today - more than 2 years later.
Brian WAS a hero !"
Sandi BEE of Montana

"Brian and I graduated from the same high school in 1997 and even though we did not know each other I still wanted to thank you for protecting me and my family."
G.N. of New Castle, DE

"Mac, I can't believe it has been two years. Seems like yesterday we were sitting in the hooch busting some spades with Loo, Turk, and the Captain. I miss you and you are in my thoughts."
John Blanco of Bangor, Maine

"Brian,
You have made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom of a foreign country that will never know you. The majority of Iraqis understand and appreciate exactly what you stood for. You have fulfilled your commitment to the world as an American and as a United States Marine. Your family and friends can stand proudly every time they hear our Star Spangled Banner. As a fellow Marine, I thank you and your family for their sacrifice.
"SAEPE EXPERTUS, SEMPER FIDELIS, FRATRES AETERNI"
"Often Tested, Always Faithful, Brothers Forever""
Alan H Barbour of Marshall, VA

"To the loving family of Brian McGinnis, my daughter and I have recd a Hero Bracelet with your sons name on it.
My teen age daughter will be wearing it proudly, we are sorry for your loss."
Becky & Nikki of Louisville, KY USA

"Brian, you will be in my heart with all of our other fallen soldiers.
May God bless the McGinnis family."
Sheila Grable - Army Veteran & Marine Mom of Elkridge, MD

"Our family has chosen Brian and his family to pray for this holiday season. Know that you are in our hearts and on our lips as we pray for you each night. We hope the grace of God will be upon you to ease some of the pain left by Brian's ultimate sacrifice for his country."
Mike, Khris, Kyle and Katrice of Eagan, MN

"Sgt Brian McGinnis we went to the same high together (wmpenn high) but god bless rip and we all know you are walking in hand with jesus in heaven thanks for fighting for our country and protecting us through such tradegys rip"
Adam Gulbronson of Martinsburg , West Virginia

"Brian was a great friend and so much fun to be around. We miss you every day and not a day go's by that we dont appreciate the sacrafice that you made."
Summer Stumpf of Harleysville, PA

"To the friends and family of Brian D. McGinnis:
Your loved ones sacrifice will never be forgotten. My husband was KIA on June 4, 2004 in Iraq, and it kills me to know how many others have had to go on this painful journey. I hope it brings you some comfort to know that you are in so many peoples prayers every day. Brain's memories will continue to live on forever in your hearts!"
Sarah Linden of Portland, OR USA

"RIP Marine"
Petty Officer Cawthon of RTC Great Lakes, IL

"I am so sorry to have read about the loss of this young man. As you can see we shared the same name. May God bless him and his family."
Brian R. McGinnis of Harrisville, Wv USA

"What a great site to talk about our family hero. He has truly touched many peoples' lives and will never be forgotten."
Ginny Michaud of New Jersey

"We Will NEVER FORGET !"
Please KNOW so many people share your sadness, and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief. Your HERO, Brian, will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"To Remember Them..In loving Memory..Its been a year..

At the rising of the sun and at its going down, We remember them.
At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of Winter, We remember them.
At the opening of buds and in the rebirth of Spring, We remember them.
At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of Summer, We remember them.
At the rustling of leaves and the beauty of Autumn, We remember them.

As long as we live, they too will live;
for they are now a part of us, as we remember them.
Rest in Peace Dear Marine!! SEMPER FI!! We will NEVER FORGET!"
The Grogan Family of Lakeland, TN

"Sergeant McGinnis, goodbye soldier and thank you. You are my hero."
Bill of Houston, Texas

"You are loved and missed forever"
Poor Joe

"I just found this site and have lived again Brians death. He was loved by so many and is missed so much. He is and always will be a true hero. RIP Brian, we'll see you soon."
Dave of Texas, USA

"You are dearly missed. I am blessed our paths did cross, if only for a brief moment in time."
Patricia Roebling of Weston Missouri

"Thank you Brian McGinnis, you will not be forgotten. Your bravery goes beyond words. I want to express my deepest gratitude for your sacrifice. To the family and friends, my prayers and deep condolences in your loss. May God strengthen you from knowing that fellow Americans and people around the world care about you and grieve with you in your loss. God bless you all. A very appreciative fellow American,"
Leo Titus of Grayslake, Illinios

"If one of us becomes tired, The other watches for him.
If one of us has doubts, The other laughs reasuringly.
If one of us should fall, The other takes the place of two.
For God gives every warrior, A Comrade.
Herbert Menzel (fallen in battle)"
Robert Biernat of Joliet, Illinois

"Brian was a great friend to me and he was like another brother. You are missed more than you know my friend. Rest in peace."
John Blanco of Bangor, Maine

"Our prayers are with your family during this difficult time. Thank you brave soldier, your courage and sacrifice will nerver be forgotten."
Ken and Maritza Holley of Pembroke Pines, Florida

"To the family and friends of Sgt. Brian McGinnis:
May God's grace be with you during your time of grief. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and we feel your loss and share in your sorrow. Bless Brian for the sacrifice he has made to make a better life for the rest of us."
The Ford Family of Wells, Nevada

"To the family and friends of Sgt. Brian McGinnis:
I am saddened by the loss of your loved one. He will always be remembered as a hero for fighting for freedom. I hope that this website will be a source of comfort and encouragement for you during this difficult time, and in the future as you recall the memories of Brian, who continues to live on in your heart."
Tim Rivera, of Powder Springs, Georgia

"Even though we are not blood related, I've lost a brother who died for my freedom.."
Eric J. McGinnis of Tampa, FL U.S.A.

"Rest in Peace Brave Warrior. Thank you."
The Taylors, USMC of North Carolina

Honor them by remembering... Freedom - is their gift to us But his soul goes marching on