Retired Army Helicopter pilot and a winner of the nation’s most prestigious military honor, Captain Ed Freeman, passed away on August 20 in Boise, Idaho, after a long illness. He is survived by his wife Barbara, and sons Michael and Douglas Freeman.
Captain Freeman was a veteran of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, and the recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions on November 14, 1965 at Landing Zone X-Ray, in the Ia Drang Valley of Vietnam. His citation credits him with helping save 30 seriously wounded soldiers in 14 separate rescue missions in an unarmed helicopter. The heroic actions of Captain Freeman and others at the battles of Ia Drang were chronicled in the book We Were Soldiers Once…And Young and the Mel Gibson film adaptation.
Vietnam Center and Archive staff had the honor of meeting Freeman at the 2005 40th
Anniversary Reunion of the Ia Drang
Battles held in Washington D.C. At the reunion, Dr. Richard Verrone interviewed
Captain Freeman about his experiences in that campaign.
From 17-19 July, I had the pleasure of attending the reunion of the Gamewardens of Vietnam in Norfolk, Virginia. 2008 marked the 40th anniversary of the Gamewardens, so this was certainly a very special event. The U.S. Navy initiated Project Gamewarden to combat enemy traffic on the inland waterways of the Mekong Delta during the war, and this Brown Water Navy was involved in some of the most harrowing experiences of the Vietnam War. Mainly operating PBRs (patrol boat river) these sailors plied the rivers and canals of South Vietnam, searching for shipments of enemy weapons, food, etc.
As you might imagine, I met a number of very colorful individuals at the reunion, and enjoyed the distinct honor of speaking with members of River Division 593, a group whose gallantry in combat earned them a number of medals, including the Navy Cross which was bestowed upon David Larsen in 1970.