Monday, April 16, 2012

We Salute Ed Freeman - American Hero

The first six paragraphs (in italics) of this posting were introduced a while back in a mass email by an anonymous sender out to media outlets. I have reproduced it here with corrections to errors that went out in the mailer's original. I do so as a reminder of what true heroes really look like.

You're a 19 year old kid. You're critically wounded and dying in the jungle somewhere in the Central Highlands of Viet Nam.

It's November 14, 1965. Your unit is outnumbered 8 to 1 and the enemy fire is so intense from just 100 yards away, that your CO (commanding officer) has ordered the 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 half way around the world, 12,000 miles away, and you're positive 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 that sound of a helicopter. You look up to see a Huey coming in. But, it doesn't seem real because no MedEvac markings are on it. Pilot Captain Ed Freeman is coming in for you. He's not MedEvac so it's not his job, but he heard the radio call and decided he's flying his Huey down into the machine gun fire anyway. Even after the MedEvacs were ordered not to come. He's coming anyway and he drops it in and sits there in the machine gun fire, as they load 3 of you at a time on board. Then he flies you up and out through the gunfire to the doctors and nurses and safety. And, he kept coming back! 13 additional trips. Until all the wounded were out.

No one knew until the mission was over that the Captain had been hit 4 times in both legs and his left arm. He took you and 29 of your buddies out that day. Some would not have made it without the Captain and his Huey.

Medal of Honor Recipient, Captain Ed Freeman, United States Air Force, died in November 2008 at the age of 80, in Boise, Idaho. May God bless and rest his soul as we look back and remember his courageous life.

Learn more about the life of this brave man HERE

It's been nearly four years since Ed left us and forty-seven years since he saved all those soldiers from certain death. We need heroes like Ed to remind us of this nation's greatness and the kind of brave souls it can produce. Every day men and women who gallantly step up in time of great need. It helps keep things in their proper perspective and allows us to see the smallness of those like Bill Maher or a Rush Limbaugh as their small shadows are placed against the light of these really tremendous human heroes that have paid the real cost of integrity, truth, justice, sacrifice and life.

Captain Ed Freeman's Official Medal of Honor Citation reads as follows:

CAPTAIN ED W. FREEMAN - UNITED STATES ARMY

Captain Ed W. Freeman, United States Army, of Boise, Idaho, who 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 because of intense direct enemy fire, Captain Freeman risked his 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, by providing the engaged units with supplies of ammunition critical to their survival, directly affected the battle's outcome. Without them the units would almost surely have gone down, with much greater loss of life

After medical evacuation helicopters refused to fly into the area because of intense enemy fire, Captain Freeman flew 14 separate rescue missions, providing lifesaving 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 and extraordinary perseverance 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.

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