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Ed W. Freeman

  • Birth 20 Nov 1927 Neely, Greene County, Mississippi, USA
  • Death 20 Aug 2008 Boise, Ada County, Idaho, USA
  • Burial Boise, Ada County, Idaho, USA
  • Plot Site #12-J-155
  • Memorial ID 29186886

Vietnam War Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. He served as a Master Sergeant during the Korean War and was given a battlefield commission during the Battle of Pork Chop Hill. At that point in his career his dream was to attend flight school. However, because of his six foot four stature he was considered too tall. In 1955 the height limit was raised allowing Freeman to enroll fulfilling a lifelong dream. The nickname "Too Tall" stuck with him throughout his military career. It would be during the Vietnam War that Freeman would receive the honor for heroic actions in battle. As an Army helicopter pilot during the Vietnam war and flight leader, second in command, he flew fourteen separate rescue missions, providing life saving evacuation of an estimated 30 seriously wounded soldiers at a heavily engaged infantry battalion at Landing Zone X-Ray in the la Drang Valley. He was awarded the Medal of Honor by President George W. Bush in July of 2001. His Citation reads: "For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty: 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." His heroics grew nationwide attention when his character was played by Mark McCracken in the film, "We Were Soldiers." Freeman died from complications of Parkinson's Disease at age 80.

Bio by: Elizabeth Reed

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NOV 20 1927
AUG 20 2008





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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Elizabeth Reed
  • Added: 20 Aug 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 29186886
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Ed W. Freeman (20 Nov 1927–20 Aug 2008), Find A Grave Memorial no. 29186886, citing Idaho State Veterans Cemetery, Boise, Ada County, Idaho, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .