Lt. Col. Oliver North is a combat decorated U.S. Marine, a No. 1 best-selling author, the founder of a small business, an inventor with three U.S. patents, a syndicated columnist and the host of "War Stories" on Fox News Channel.

For his unwavering support of the military, decades of service to his country and a continued commitment to service, the man whom President Ronald Reagan described as "an American hero" can add Stonewall Jackson Award winner to his long list of accolades.

"Each May, as we gather more than 100,000 strong to pay tribute to the U.S. Armed Forces as part of the Coca-Cola 600, we select one recipient as our Stonewall Jackson honoree," said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. "This year, we could think of no one more deserving to recognize for his decades of unparalleled service to our country than Lt. Col. Oliver North."

In addition to being recognized with the Stonewall Jackson Award, North will deliver a moving "State of Freedom" speech during pre-race festivities and sign autographs in The Speedway Club for a limited number of military members. The address and the salute for the military portion of the pre-race show is presented by NRA Life of Duty. North is also scheduled to appear earlier in the day at a special "Welcome Home the Troops" luncheon at zMAX Dragway.

North was born in San Antonio, Texas, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and served 22 years as a Marine officer.  His awards for service in combat include the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for valor and two Purple Hearts for wounds in action.

Assigned to the National Security Council staff in the Reagan administration, North was the United States government's counter-terrorism coordinator from 1983 until 1986. He was involved in planning the rescue of 804 medical students on the island of Grenada and played a major role in the daring capture of the terrorists who hijacked the cruise ship Achille Lauro.  After helping plan the U.S. raid on Muammar Qaddafi's terror bases in Libya, North was targeted for assassination by Abu Nidal, the infamous terrorist killed in Baghdad in August 2002. 

From his years of military service, North knows the sacrifices today's men and women in uniform make on a daily basis to bring about the freedom enjoyed by millions across the United States.

"Active duty soldiers, sailors, airmen, guardsmen and Marines and veterans of all services are America's heroes," North said. "They put themselves at risk, forfeit the comforts of home and absent themselves from loved ones to protect us and offer others the hope of freedom."

Since 2001, he has been the host of "War Stories" - the award-winning military documentary series on Fox News Channel -- and has been embedded with more than 55 U.S. and allied combat units. North has authored 13 books, all of them New York Times best sellers.  His latest, "Heroes Proved" is a gripping tale of intrigue and duplicity at the highest levels of the U.S. government.

North serves on the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association and is the founder of Freedom Alliance, a foundation providing college scholarships to the sons and daughters of U.S. military personnel killed in the line of duty. 

He claims his most important accomplishment is being "the husband of one, the father of four and the grandfather of 14."

A decorated veteran, North said he is honored to be a part of Charlotte Motor Speedway's efforts to pay tribute to the U.S. Armed Forces on Memorial Day weekend.

"What the NRA and NASCAR are doing here at the Coca-Cola 600 should be replicated all across our land," he said. "Those we honor here are the bravest and best of their generation. They are proof we are the home of the brave - and the reason why we're still the land of the free."

Presented annually since 1992, the Stonewall Jackson Award recognizes recipients who have demonstrated, by example, the highest standards of patriotism through personal support of the military and/or by personal service to sacrifice above the call of duty. Past recipients include Gen. Gary Luck (USA), Congressman Bill Hefner (NC), Gen. James Livingston (USMC), Gen. Dwayne Dorming (USSOC), the 82nd Airborne Division, Gen.Lloyd Newton (USA), Gen. Peter Pace, Gen. Buck Herman (USA), Gen. Henry Shelton (USA), Gen. John Handy (USAF), Gen. William B. Tonguy (USSOC), Command Sgt. Major Michael W. Williams, Brigadier Gen. Iwan B. Clontz, Col. (ret.) Walter Joseph Marm,  former American Legion Post Commander Dale Punch and last year's winner, Purple Heart Homes co-founder Dale Beatty.

Tickets for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 are on sale and can be obtained online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or by calling the ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267). Get two reserved frontstretch seats, with the best views of the world's largest HDTV and all the action on pit road, starting at just $99.

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