July 7, 2010

This Hero, Ed Freeman, Exemplifies Courage and Caring

Ed Freeman's Medal of Honor citation reads 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.
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