Mississippian’s heroism after IED explosion in Iraq earns highest civilian defense award

Published 8:38 am Thursday, August 22, 2019

Mississippi man is awarded highest civilian defense medal

A Mississippi man has been awarded the U.S. Department of Defense’s highest civilian honor.

Republican U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith on Tuesday presided over the formal presentation to John “Jay” Fulton Blount Jr., of Greenville, who is the second Mississippian to earn the Defense of Freedom medal.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Blount, who was working as a civilian contractor in support of U.S. defense missions in Iraq, received the award for his heroic efforts after an IED explosion destroyed a caravan in which he was traveling. Though injured, Blount treated the wounded and secured the dead after the July 2008 attack.

The recognition was created after the 9/11 attacks.

Tommy Hammill of Macon was the first Mississippian to earn the medal. In 2004, Hammill escaped captivity after insurgents ambushed his fuel convoy near Baghdad.