Boeing Employee First to Receive U.S. Marine Corps Defense of Freedom Medal
Boeing [NYSE:BA] employee Todd Alexander received the Department of Defense's "Defense of Freedom" medal April 25 during a ceremony at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. Issued by each of the military branches, the Defense of Freedom medal is the civilian equivalent of the military's Purple Heart and honors civilian employees and contractors injured or killed in the line of duty. Alexander is the Marine Corps' first honoree since the award was created in 2001.
Alexander was wounded Sept. 4, 2004, during Operation Iraqi Freedom II while working as a civilian contractor with The Insitu Group, a Boeing partner on the ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle program. While making technical adjustments to a ScanEagle vehicle in Fallujah , Iraq , insurgents fired multiple rockets into his location, fatally wounding one service member and injuring three others, including Alexander, who suffered shrapnel wounds to his back.
"Todd's sacrifice exemplifies the spirit of selfless devotion that permeates our industry today," said Howard Chambers, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems. "Men and women of our nation, both uniformed and civilian, risk their lives every day to ensure that our freedom is protected. Todd spent four days in the hospital, but was back on the job on the fifth day. These acts of heroism occur every single day."
"I had the opportunity to witness first hand not only the capability of the ScanEagle system, but the dedication of the civilian team that kept it in the fight for as long as we needed it. Neither enemy indirect fire attacks nor sleep deprivation could deter the professionalism and dedication of the ScanEagle team," said Lt. Gen. John F. Sattler, commanding general of the First Marine Expeditionary Force. " Even after Todd was wounded by enemy fire, the team courageously continued to contribute above and beyond the contract, and Todd 'returned to duty' as soon as possible; they all knew we needed this capability in the fight. Todd is a classic example of what the Defense of Freedom Award stands for, and it was my honor to present it to him today."
Boeing and Insitu employees in the United States and abroad are supporting ScanEagle operations with the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy. Responsibilities for those embedded in the field include daily maintenance, mission planning/monitoring, and takeoffs and landings from ship or shore. Since August 2004, small teams from Boeing and Insitu have worked in Iraq alongside First and Second Marine Expeditionary Force members. In July 2005, teams also began supporting Navy Expeditionary Strike Group and oil platform security missions.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $30.8 billion business. It provides network-centric system solutions to its global military, government, and commercial customers. It is a leading provider of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems; the world's largest military aircraft manufacturer; the world's largest satellite manufacturer; a foremost developer of advanced concepts and technologies; a leading provider of space-based communications; the primary systems integrator for U.S. missile defense; NASA's largest contractor; and a global leader in sustainment solutions and launch services.