While we reported on April 8 that Medal of Honor recipient Ed Freeman died April 1 at the age of 80, it appears that the date was wrong. While the rest of the story is as authentic as it can be, Freeman actually died in August of 2008. We regret the error, but if you’ve never heard of Ed Freeman, read on and let me tell you a little about him.
Try to imagine yourself a 19 year old kid, critically wounded, dying in the Ia Drang Valley of Vietnam. It’s November 14, 1965 and you’re at Landing Zone X-ray. Your unit is outnumbered 8-to-1 and enemy fire is so intense, from 100 or 200 yards away, that your infantry commander has ordered the medevac helicopters to stop coming in. You’re lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns, and you know you’re not getting out alive. Your family is halfway around the world and you’ll never see them again. As your life starts to fade in and out, you know this is the day.
Then, over the machine gun noise, you hear a helicopter. You look up to see an unarmed Huey, but there are no Medevac markings on it.
Ed Freeman is coming for you. He’s not a Medevac pilot. It’s not his job, but he’s flying his Huey down into the machine gun fire. The Medevacs had been ordered not to come. Ed Freeman is coming, anyway.
The Huey drops in and sits there in the machine gun fire as they load you and two or three others aboard, then Freeman flies you up and out, through the intense gunfire, to the doctors and nurses.
That wasn’t the end of the story on that November day at LZ X-ray. Freeman came back 13 more times and lifted out about 30 American soldiers who otherwise never would have lived another day.
Ed Freeman earned his Medal of Honor that day. This old Naval Aviator salutes him proudly and hopes his example inspires the generations whose knowledge of his war – our war – is flawed by fraudulent history.