Myth Blaster: Ed Freeman Story


The following email was sent by Joan Bartelson concerning a hero described in the chain email circuit …

You’re a 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 – 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 1/2 way 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 that sound of a helicopter, and you look up to see an un-armed 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, after the Medi-Vacs 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 2 or 3 of you on board. Then he flies you up and out through the gunfire, to the Doctors and Nurses. And, he kept coming back…. 13 more times….. And took about 30 of you and your buddies out, who would never have gotten out. 

Medal of Honor Recipient , Ed Freeman , died last Wednesday at the age of 80, in Boise , ID ……May God rest his soul….. I bet you didn’t hear about this hero’s passing, but we sure were told a whole bunch about some Hip-Hop Coward beating the crap out of his “girlfriend” Medal of Honor Winner Ed Freeman! 

Shame on the American Media.

Myth Blaster Verdict:
Truth, except remarks concerning American Media.
Ed W. “Too Tall” Freeman was born November 20th 1927 in Neely, Mississippi and died on August 20th 2008. He was a US Army helicopter pilot who received the Medal of Honor for his action during the Battle of Ia Drang in the Vietnam War. Mr. Freeman was a wingman for Major Bruce Crandall who also received the Medal of Honor.
Mr. Freeman served in World War II and attained the rank of Master Sergeant by the time the Korean War began. He was in the Corps of Engineers, but fought as an infantry soldier in the Korean War. He fought in the Battle of Pork Chop Hill and received a battlefield commission as an officer, which made him eligible to become a pilot, a dream he had since childhood. When he applied for flight school training, he was considered too tall (six foot, four inches) for pilot duty, and thus the reason for his nickname. In 1955, the height limit was raised and Mr. Freeman was accepted to attend flight school. He first trained in fix-wing aircraft and then switched to helicopters. He was an experienced helicopter pilot by the time he was sent to Vietnam in 1965 and became second-in-command as a Captain in Company A, 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), 16-helicopter unit.
Wikipedia (verified):

On November 14th, 1965, Captain Freeman and his unit transported a battalion of American soldiers to the Ia Drang Valley. After returning to base, they learned that the soldiers were under intense fire and taking heavy casualties. Enemy fire around the landing zones was so heavy that the medical evacuation helicopters refused to fly in to the landing zone. Freeman and his commander, Major Bruce Crandall, volunteered to fly their unarmed, lightly armored helicopters in support of the embattled troops. Freeman made a total of fourteen trips to the battlefield, bringing in water and ammunition and taking out wounded soldiers. Freeman was sent home from Vietnam in 1966 and retired from the military the next year. He settled in the Treasure Valley area of Idaho, his wife Barbara’s home state, and continued to work as a pilot. He used his helicopter to fight wildfires, perform animal censuses, and herd wild horses for the Department of the Interior until his retirement in 1991. Freeman’s commanding officer nominated him for the Medal of Honor for his actions at Ia Drang, but not in time to meet a two-year deadline then in place. He was instead awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. The Medal of Honor nomination was disregarded until 1995, when the two-year deadline was removed.

He was formally presented with the medal on July 16th, 2001 by President George W. Bush. Freeman died on August 20, 2008, due to complications from Parkinson’s disease. He was buried in the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery in Boise. In the 2002 film We Were Soldiers, which depicted the Battle of Ia Drang, Freeman was portrayed by Mark McCracken. The post office of Freeman’s hometown of McLain, Mississippi, was renamed the “Major Ed W. Freeman Post Office” in March 2009.

Medal of Honor 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.[4]

The following entries of the bibliography demonstrate that Major Freeman, US Army retired was afforded plenty of publicity – even at this death, as one of many American heroes of our nation’s history. That part of the chain email was untrue.
Some email versions, according to SNOPES, presents the wrong date of death.
The email as one can see is a bit outdated and has made the chain email circuit many times, sometimes changed in various ways.
The travesty of this story is how long it took for the man to receive his honor as an American hero, the two-year limit rule was ridiculous. In the myriad of paperwork, sometimes thinks get misplaced. My father finally received his additional medals after World War II – twenty years later.
Bibliography
MOH Recipient Ed Freeman Dies … (August 21st 2008) Idaho Statesman, Military.com
Ed Freeman … Snopes
Ed Freeman, Medal of Honor Recipient … David Emery, Urban Legends Netlore Archive, About.com
Ed Freeman … Wikipedia Biography with sources
Decades Later, Vietnam War Hero Is Finally Awarded Medal of Honor … Sandra Jontz, Stars and Stripes, July 17th 2001
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7 comments on “Myth Blaster: Ed Freeman Story

  1. Great man, great story,and I'm stealing it Kieth. If the GCM won't talk about it, then we bloggers need to.

  2. Ken in Tenn says:

    Regardless of the Mythblaster verdict, I enjoyed reading about Ed Freeman once again. Many have sacrificed to make this country what it is today. May we never forget to honor their sacrifices.

  3. Patrick:Go for it. LOL

  4. Ken:Yes, many have sacrificed since 1776 to have American citizens dishonor our nation and its constitutional laws; most often those who never spent a day in military service.

  5. A true American hero has passed. Remember, the mass media stories last only as long as the celebrity does. But the stories like those of Ed Freeman live on forever in smaller circles where they are stronger and more influential to people.

  6. cruz says:

    IF YOU COME ACROSS A NAM /VET = WALK UP SHAKE HIS OR HERS-HAND WHILE GIVING A SHOULDER BUMP=SAY WELCOME HOME MY BROTHER/SISTER = AND TELL THEM PLEASE PASS IT ON /THANKING YOU IN ADVANCEdusur

  7. Thanks, Cruz on behalf of the other Veterans, I would be honored to shake your hand.Amen to your comment and thanks for taking the time to stop by …KAL

Comments are closed.