Nation in brief: Soldier killed in battle honored
President Bush on Monday presented the nation’s highest military award to a 19-year-old soldier who died saving the lives of four comrades in Iraq by jumping on a grenade tossed into their military vehicle. The honored soldier, Army Pfc. Ross McGinnis, “gave all for his country,” the president said somberly.
“No one outside this man’s family can know the true weight of their loss. But in words spoken long ago, we are told how to measure the kind of devotion that Ross McGinnis showed on his last day: ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’ ”
The president spoke in the East Room at a ceremony attended by Vice President Dick Cheney, prior recipients of the Medal of Honor, military leaders, McGinnis’ parents, Tom and Romayne, and his two sisters, Becky and Katie. The four soldiers protected by McGinnis’ actions were all in attendance.
McGinnis was in the gunner’s hatch of a Humvee on Dec. 4, 2006, on a patrol in Iraq, when a grenade sailed past him and into the vehicle where the four other soldiers sat. He shouted a warning, then jumped on the grenade while it was lodged near the vehicle’s radio.
Lander scoops Martian soil
NASA’s newest spacecraft got down and dirty on Mars, taking its first practice scoop of Martian soil ahead of the actual dig expected later this week, scientists said Monday.
The test dig made Sunday by the Phoenix Mars Lander’s 8-foot-long robotic arm uncovered bits of bright specks in the soil believed to be ice or salt.
“We see this nice streak of white material,” said Pat Woida, senior engineer at the University of Arizona, Tucson, which is directing the mission. “We don’t know what this material is yet.”
Phoenix landed in the Martian arctic plains May 25 on a three-month hunt to study whether the far northern latitudes could support primitive life.
Computer error renames students
A computer spell-checker run amok christened several Pennsylvania high school students with new – and in some cases unflattering – last names.
Middletown Area High School’s yearbook listed Max Zupanovic as “Max Supernova,” Kathy Carbaugh as “Kathy Airbag” and Alessandra Ippolito as “Alexandria Impolite,” just to name a few.
“It was kind of funny, but kind of rude at the same time,” Ippolito said.
The mistakes were found on four of the yearbook’s 176 pages, co-editor Amanda Gummo said.
Ed Patrick of Taylor Publishing, which printed the book, said his company is responsible for the errors and will provide free stickers printed with the correct names.