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March 22, 2011

"Those Sons Of Bitches Were Crazy."


As I mentioned a few days ago, a Vietnam vet used the title of this post to describe the pilots of Huey UH-1 heliocopters. Without further ado, here is the Medal of Honor citation read by President G. W. Bush describing the actions of one of those crazy sons of bitches:

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.

Captain Freeman was shot four times during this action. It wasn't until 2001 that he finally received the MoH. He went to his final reward on August 20, 2008.

If anyone remembers the Mel Gibson movie, "We Were Soldiers," and the Huey chopper pilot portrayed by Greg Kinnear - who flew time and time again into the hot LZ to rescue soldiers - that character was based on Capt. Freeman and his selfless actions.



So here's to all you crazy sons of bitches who signed a big-assed blank check when you raised your right hand and swore to defend the Constitution of the United States. God bless you.

5 comments:

T. F. Stern said...

Amen.

sig94 said...

TFS - indeed.

Kid said...

I was a crazy mother when I was young (Hey, I still am), but it is hard to imagine the mindset of these guys.

Larger Than Life in every sense.

Salute.

Rhod said...

Must remember the passengers, too, the door gunners and MedEvac crews.

(And especially the crews of the Huey Fireflies.)

Sig, thank you for your good wishes at the other Huey post.

sig94 said...

Rhod - that was for everyone who served in any capacity in any of the Armed Services.