CPT Ed W. Freeman
Medal of Honor Citation
Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Army, Company A, 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile)
Place and date: Ia Drang Valley, Republic of Vietnam, 14 November 1965
Entered Service at: Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Born: 20 November 1927, Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Citation: The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of The Congress the Medal of Honor to Ed W. Freeman for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty: CPT 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, CPT 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, CPT 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. CPT 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. CPT 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.
MAJ (Ret) Ed W. Freeman was awarded the Medal of Honor on 16 July 2001 in a White House Ceremony by President George W. Bush. MAJ (Ret) Freeman died on 20 August 2008 and is buried in the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery in Boise, Idaho.
The Medal of Honor
Description: A gold five pointed star, each point tipped with trefoils, 1½ inches wide, surrounded by a green laurel wreath and suspended from a gold bar inscribed “VALOR”, surmounted by an eagle. In the center of the star, Minerva’s head surrounded by the words “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.” On each ray of the star is a green oak leaf. On the reverse is a bar engraved “THE CONGRESS TO” with a space for engraving the name of the recipient.
Congressional Medal of Honor Society web page: https://www.cmohs.org/
History of the Medal of Honor: https://www.army.mil/medalofhonor/history.html
Medal of Honor – The History (A Vimeo Video Documentary Rivr Digital): https://vimeo.com/100896594