Secretary of Homeland Security
Tom Ridge honored Lt. Christopher Barrows at a ceremony on August 6 for his actions during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"Lt. Barrows and his crew carried the fight away from America's shores, and, in the best traditions of the Coast Guard, they denied the enemy any opportunity to harm our nation," said Secretary Ridge.
Barrows earned the award while serving as the Commanding Officer of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Wrangell, a 110-ft. patrol boat normally stationed in Portland, Maine. Wrangell represented the first line of dense for Coalition Naval Forces providing protection for mine hunters in the waters of Iraq.
In addition, Barrows, who graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1993, earned the award for his "impressive tactical skill and unparalleled leadership" during escorts of humanitarian aid shipments to Umm Qasr that ensured the expeditious flow of food and medicine to the people of Iraq.
Wrangell was one of eight Coast Guard patrol boats deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom. In addition to conducting coastal security patrols and boardings to prevent the movement of Iraqi military forces or equipment, Coast Guard forces provided security to Iraqi oil terminals
; ports in Bahrain, Kuwait and Iraq; and humanitarian aid shipments. Approximately 1250 Coast Guard personnel were deployed at the height of operations; about 350 remain, including a new crew for Wrangell and three other patrol boats that
continue to provide security in Iraq's waters.