As a child in kindergarten, Ross was asked to complete the sentence "When I grow up I want to be __________________." It was filled in with Army Man complete with a picture of a soldier and a big gun. Years later, he would achieve that goal.

He grew up in rural northwest Pennsylvania playing sports, video games, and riding his mountain bike. At the age of 17 he enlisted in the U.S. Army in the Delayed Entry Program and spent a lot of time with his recruiter his last year of high school, anxious to get his life started.

Basic training was at Fort Benning, Georgia and then he was assigned to the First Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, First Platoon, C Company. His first duty station was Schweinfurt, Germany for a year and half. He was quick to make friends and enjoyed the Army life and good times in Germany while receiving more training. In August of 2006 he was deployed with his unit to Baghdad, Iraq. Ross was an excellent marksman and was the machine gunner in charge of the .50-caliber in the turret of a HMMWV. (His big gun).

On December 4, 2006, in Adamiyah, his Hummvee was targeted by an insurgent and a hand grenade was thrown into his vehicle. Instead of leaping to safety as he was trained to do, he shouted "grenade" to let the occupants know and slid from his strap down inside the vehicle and covered the grenade with his body. He was killed instantly when it exploded. The other four soldiers in the vehicle survived.

For his actions on that fateful day, Ross was recommended for the Medal of Honor.

Character Strength Stories:

Humor - Ross was a jokester through and through. He liked to lighten the mood in a room by doing impersonations (sometimes of his superiors) and making everyone laugh. He was likable with a quick wit.

-Submitted by RomayneĀ , Surviving Mother

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