GARLAND, TX, USA
1SG, COMPANY A, 1ST BATTALION, 26TH INFANTRY, SCHWEINFURT, GM
ADHAMIYAH, IRAQ 07/11/2007
Captain Jesse Greaves recalls walking into Jeffrey R. McKinney’s room in Iraq and finding it sweltering hot.
I said to him, ‘You know, that air conditioner in the window works,’ Greaves told McKinney. First sergeant said, ‘Sir, there are soldiers in this building with no AC. Mine stays off till theirs comes on.’ I went back to my room and turned mine off after that.
McKinney, 40, of Garland, Texas, died July 11 of a gunshot wound in Adhamiyah during a non-combat related incident. A 19-year-veteran, he was assigned to Schweinfurt, Germany.
1st Sgt. Kevin Floyd called McKinney a kind-hearted human being.
One day, three weeks before McKinney’s death, Greaves noticed him on his knees scrubbing blood off a patch of concrete. One of McKinney’s soldiers had just been struck by a roadside bomb in Kadhimiya, a northern neighborhood of Baghdad.
When I asked him what he was doing, his answer was simple, Greaves recounted. He said, ‘I’m not leaving any part of him here. He deserves better than that.’
He is survived by a wife and two sons.
An unedited letter sent to Jeff McKinney’s father, Charles, in September 2009:
I should probably start off by telling you how I came to know your son. I was a brand new private assigned to his LRS team in Darmstadt, Germany back in 1998. I was 22 at the time a newlywed, and very motivated to be in a LRS unit. As any new soldier in the military can tell you, there is always one person you meet early in your career who in every way, shape and form sets the stage for most, if not all of your standards. Jeff McKinney was absolutely this person to me, as well as every other member of our LRS team.
When I met Jeff he was a Staff Sergeant and the Team Leader of our LRS team, numbered 3-6. As a lowly private an E-6 can be intimidating to some, or just a pain in the rear to work for in general. Jeff was different, he had a certain way of doing things that made you want to try your hardest and give 120% all of the time. Don’t get me wrong, if you messed up he was quick to point it out, and then show you how to fix it, and make you do numerous pushups or other creative exercises which kept us in great shape! He was a teacher, a mentor and a friend, all combined into one person you were proud to work for, respected tremendously, and would follow anywhere on this Earth.
To me that is what being an NCO was all about and I tried to emulate that when I became one. I will never forget something Jeff told us all one time, and that is “A standard is a standard, is a standard.” He was telling us this in reference to the rules and how they applied to everyone, not just lower enlisted guys, but NCO’s and Officers especially. I served 4 years proudly as an Infantryman and am going on 6 years as an aviator, and to this day I hold Jeff McKinney as the model of what an NCO should be. Not many compare, and even fewer come close.