"Sharing can be a way of healing. Grief and loss can isolate,
anger even alienate. Shared with others, emotions unite
as we see we aren't alone. We realize others weep with us."
~Susan Wittig Albert

Through our writing, we walk out of the darkness into the light
together, one small step at a time, recording history, educating
America, and we are healing.
~CJ/Todd Dierdorff

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Ed Freeman: An American Hero

Ed Freeman

Remembering Ed Freeman, Flying Cross and Medal of Honor Recipient, who died at the age of 80, in Boise ID, on August 20, 2008, from complications of Parkinson's Disease.

Ed Freeman was a veteran not only of Vietnam, but of World War II and Korea.  He was laid to rest at the Veterans Cemetery in Idaho, where he settled.   

The story that went viral ...

"You’re an 19 year old kid. You’re critically wounded, and dying in the jungle in the Ia Drang Valley, 11-14-1965, LZ X-ray, Vietnam. 
Your infantry unit is outnumbered 8 to 1, and the enemy fire is so intense, from 100 or 200 yards away, that your own Infantry Commander has ordered the MediVac helicopters to stop coming in.

You’re lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns, and you know you’re not getting out. Your family is halfway around the world, 12,000 miles away, and you’ll never see them again. As the world starts to fade in and out, you know this is "the day".

Then, over the machine gun noise, you faintly hear the sound of a helicopter, and you look up to see an unarmed Huey, but it doesn’t seem real, because no Medi-Vac markings are on it.

Ed Freeman is coming for you. He’s not Medi-Vac, so it’s not his job, but he’s flying his Huey down into the machine gun fire, even after the Medi-Vacs were ordered not to come.

Ed’s coming anyway, and he drops it in and sits there in the machine gun fire, as they load two or three of you on board. Then he flies you up and out through the gunfire to the Doctors and Nurses.

And, he kept coming back. Thirteen more times he came back and took about thirty of you and your buddies out, who would never have gotten out otherwise."

Ed Freeman, Bruce Crandall flying a rescue mission

The story of U.S. Army Veteran Ed Freeman is true. 

However, according to some survivors of the battle, the unarmed Huey actually returned more than 21 times with supplies, evacuating the wounded each trip. 

On that day, more than 70 soldiers were flown to safety by Captain Freeman.

In 2001, Freeman was awarded the nation's highest military honor some 36 years after the fact for his heroic actions as a Vietnam War helicopter pilot on November 14, 1965. 

One of 246 recipients of the Medal of Honor in Vietnam, he was presented with his citation by President George W. Bush which read as follows:

"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."

Ed Freeman receiving Medal of Honor

In March of 2009, the United States Congress bestowed one more honor to Major Freeman. 

They designated the US Post Office in his place of birth McLain, Mississippi, the "Major Ed W. Freeman Post Office." 

“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale

You are invited to add an opinion, thought, or comment, about this post.  Or, write about anything you want to share and send it to me in an e-mail and I will post it for you.  

Memoirs From Nam is YOUR blog.


  1. Major Freeman, you're cleared to climb. We salute you, sir.

  2. A Salute to a very deserving individual!!

  3. We are slowly losing good men of our era .... You have earned the "WINGS" you are now adorned in!

  4. SIR,
    No words can describe how grateful, and proud I am for your sacrifice,
    Thank You.


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