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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.

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 travelling. 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.

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