Randy Ross of Keedysville and seven other men received the military's highest civilian honor Jan. 24. The Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom honors civilian employees of the Department of Defense who were wounded or killed in the line of duty.
Ross was awarded the medal for his actions and injuries on April 9, 2004, when he was a fuel truck driver on the Thomas Hammil convoy that was attacked in Baghdad. The medal is equivalent to the military's Purple Heart and is inscribed with the words "On Behalf of a Grateful Nation."
The medal was presented by Brig. Gen. Kathleen Gainey, Assistant Chief of Staff, Resources and Sustainment for the Multi-National Forces in Iraq.
The ceremony took place at Camp Slayer in Baghdad, at the Babylon Theater that overlooks one of Saddam Hussein's former palaces.