Failure is Not an Option – Ed Freeman

10 04 2009

ed-freemanEd Freeman passed away at the age of 80 on August 29, 2008 and was honored with obituaries in newspapers across the country.   In March 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution designating the U.S. Postal Service facility, located at 103 West Main Street in McLain, Mississippi, as the “Major Ed W. Freeman Post Office.”  McLain was the hometown of Freeman, a veteran of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

In July 2001, some 36 years after the fact, Freeman, a helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War, had been awarded the nation’s highest military honor for actions taken on November 14, 1965. The citation, presented by President Bush in a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, 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, First Cavalry Division Air Mobil (ph).

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 Idrang 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 Paceeds (ph) 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.

For additional information about Ed Freeman:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ed_Freeman