Medal of Honor Winner. Ed Freeman.

Tags: HeroStories

Medal of Honor

FREEMAN, ED W.

Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Army, Company A, 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion,

First Cavalry Division (Airmobile)

Place and date: Ia Drang Valley, Republic of Vietnam, 14 November 1965

Born: 1928

Citation:

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, First 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 infantry 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 underseige 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 experienced a 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 estimates 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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Bush awards Medal of Honor to Vietnam helicopter pilot

WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Bush on Monday, July 16, 2001, presented the nation’s highest military honor to an Army chopper pilot who is credited with evacuating wounded soldiers and delivering supplies to a battle zone during the Vietnam War.

Thirty-six years ago, Capt. Ed W. Freeman, a flight leader and second-in-command of a 16-helicopter lift unit, flew his unarmed helicopter through enemy fire to deliver ammunition, water and medical supplies to an infantry battalion engaged in battle in what was then the Republic of Vietnam.

“He served his country and his comrades to the fullest, rising above and beyond anything the Army or the nation could have ever asked,” Bush said.

The president draped the Medal of Honor around the neck of Freeman, of Boise, Idaho, in a brief ceremony before other medal winners, Freeman’s family, government officials and members of Congress.

According to the citation, Freeman “supported a heavily engaged American infantry battalion” in the la Drang Valley.

The infantry 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,” the citation reads.

“When the infantry commander closed the helicopter landing zone, due to intense direct enemy fire, Capt. Freeman risked his own life.”

According to the citation, “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 experienced a much greater loss of life.”

The citation said 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.”

Monday’s ceremony was the first time Bush has handed out the Medal of Honor.