22 August 2008

RIP: Ed Freeman

Ed W Freeman
Nov 1927 - 20 Aug 2008

ZUI this article from the Idaho Statesman:
As Ed "Too Tall" Freeman lay ill in a Boise hospital over the past few weeks, many came to pay their respects to the 80-year-old national war hero and former helicopter pilot.

One unexpected visitor offered a very personal thank you to Freeman, a veteran of three wars and recipient of the highest military award - the Congressional Medal of Honor - for his actions on Nov. 14, 1965, at Landing Zone X-Ray, Ia Drang Valley, Vietnam.

"A guy came into the hospital and said, 'You don't know me, but I was one of those people you hauled out of the X-Ray,'" said Mike Freeman, 54, one of Ed's two sons. "He said, 'Thanks for my life.' "

Freeman died Wednesday.


The heroics of Freeman and the others involved in the Ia Drang campaign are immortalized in the Mel Gibson movie "We Were Soldiers," which is based on the book "We Were Soldiers Once ... And Young." A sequel, "We Are Soldiers Still," was released this month.


Freeman, a Mississippi native who married an Idahoan, began his military career at 17 with a two-year stint in the Navy during World War II.

"He joined the Navy and hated it. The ocean thing was not his bag," Mike Freeman said.

So he joined the Army, serving four years in Germany before getting deployed to the Korean conflict.

The 6-foot-4 tell-it-like-it-is Southerner got the name "Too Tall" because he was told he was too tall to be a pilot. That didn't stop him from pushing to fly.

Freeman was played by Mark McCracken in the film We Were Soldiers.

Freeman receives the Medal of Honor from President Bush, 16 July 2001

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Captain, US Army; 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile)

Born: 1927, Mississippi
Died: 20 August 2008, Boise, Idaho

Citation: Captain Ed W. Freeman, United States Army, distinguished himself by numerous acts of conspicuous gallantry and extraordinary intrepidity on 14 November 1965 while serving with Company A, 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). As a flight leader and second in command of a 16-helicopter lift unit, he supported a heavily engaged American infantry battalion at Landing Zone X-Ray in the Ia Drang Valley, Republic of Vietnam. The unit was almost out of ammunition after taking some of the heaviest casualties of the war, fighting off a relentless attack from a highly motivated, heavily armed enemy force. When the infantry commander closed the helicopter landing zone due to intense direct enemy fire, Captain Freeman risked his own life by flying his unarmed helicopter through a gauntlet of enemy fire time after time, delivering critically needed ammunition, water and medical supplies to the besieged battalion. His flights had a direct impact on the battle's outcome by providing the engaged units with timely supplies of ammunition critical to their survival, without which they would almost surely have gone down, with much greater loss of life. After medical evacuation helicopters refused to fly into the area due to intense enemy fire, Captain Freeman flew 14 separate rescue missions, providing life-saving evacuation of an estimated 30 seriously wounded soldiers -- some of whom would not have survived had he not acted. All flights were made into a small emergency landing zone within 100 to 200 meters of the defensive perimeter where heavily committed units were perilously holding off the attacking elements. Captain Freeman's selfless acts of great valor, extraordinary perseverance and intrepidity were far above and beyond the call of duty or mission and set a superb example of leadership and courage for all of his peers. Captain Freeman's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.


Anonymous said...

"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends..." John 15:13 May Ed Freeman rest eternally in the presence of our God

Anonymous said...

Pls let Ed's family know that I respect and admire him for what he did. Even if he did not get press on the day of his death I just received an e-mail making sure that no one forgets him. None of the families--that now exist because of him-will ever forget him. As a Marine Mom I send my prayers out to his family.

Anonymous said...

Men like this need their story told for the young men of this country. You will not leave this earth without your life remembered. Thank you for your loyal service to our great country.

-Alex R. Kabuss, HN, USN

Anonymous said...

This is the news we should all hear about when it takes place. Ed IS A HERO AND ALWAYS WILL BE. Ed is the example of the Military values. Thank you for being you Ed!! God Bless you are not forgoten!


Anonymous said...

Thank You to Ed Freeman. A Truly courageous angel whose actions allowed many sons, fathers and grandfathers the ability to live out their life while he ignored the possibility of losing his. His name shall live on in the hearts and minds of those that hear his story. I vow to his family that I shall shout the name Ed Freeman from the rooftops.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I saw the movie with the reference to "Too Tall" but never thought it was about a real person, let alone a heroic one. Thank you, Ed Freeman, for your service to our country.

Anonymous said...

What an amazing man and hero for us all. His family should know the press may have not recognized his passing, but his fellow Americans wept for the greatness we have lost in his passing from us. God bless Ed Freeman.

booneyrat said...

Let this be a good lesson that not all of us Vietnam vets were dopers and baby killers as so many in the states said,even many WWII vets said it.NEVER AGAIN WILL A GENERATION OF VETS ABANDON ANOTHER.Semper fi from a fellow Vietnam vet.