Ed W. "Too Tall" Freeman (November 20, 1927 - August 20, 2008) was a United States Army fixed and rotary wing aircraft pilot who received the Medal of Honor on July 16, 2001 for his actions in the Battle of Ia Drang in 1965. As a helicopter pilot, he flew through gunfire more than 20 times during a single, ferocious battle, bringing supplies to a trapped battalion of United States soldiers and flying more than 70 wounded soldiers to safety. Read on:
You're an 18 or 19 year old kid. You're critically wounded, and dying in the jungle in the Ia Drang Valley, 11-14-1965. LZ Xray, 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 a 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 August 20, 2008 at the age of 80, in Boise, ID. May God rest his soul.
Ed, thank you for your service...although you never thought so, you’re a hero!