Family visits Medal of Honor Exhibit

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - CAMP SHELBY, Miss. (16 January 2014) – The Armed Forces Museum at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center, welcomed Family members of  Medal of Honor Recipient, Maj. Ed W. Freeman, during a school field trip on Jan. 16.

Shannan Lewis acted as a chaperone on the field trip for her daughter's gifted class at Ocean Springs Upper Elementary School. The purpose of the field trip was to supplement the school curriculum. They are currently learning about the history of war.

"I try to be involved in every school trip," said Shannan. "This trip was very special."

The trip was significant because this is the first time her and her daughter have been to Camp Shelby and to the Armed Forces Museum to see the her great uncle's display in the Medal of Honor exhibit.

"The most interesting thing I've learned about war is that my great- great uncle was in one," said Whitney.

Freeman was a Captain in the U.S. Army and was a member of Company A, 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion, First Cavalry Division (Airmobile) when he committed the acts of heroism that earned him a Medal of Honor. On November 14, 1965, he was a flight leader and second in command of a 16-helicopter lift unit, in the Ia Drang Valley in the Republic of Vietnam. An American infantry unit nearby was under attack. They were running low on ammunition and had suffered many casualties of war. The infantry commander closed the helicopter landing zone, due to intense direct enemy fire. Freeman risked his own life by flying his unarmed helicopter through an area in heavy enemy fire to deliver ammunition, water and medical supplies.

Freeman's flights had a direct impact on the battle's outcome by providing the engaged units with timely supplies of ammunition critical to their survival. After that, medical evacuation helicopters refused to fly into the area, once again, due to intense enemy fire. Freeman once again acted. He flew 14 separate rescue missions, providing life-saving evacuation of about 30 seriously wounded Soldiers.

Before Freeman died in 2008, Shannan said she was able to hear him tell his story.

"He came to Family reunions and he came to one shortly after he received the medal. We took pictures with him wearing it," she said.

Shannan said that being proud of Freeman's heroism and Medal of Honor is an understatement.

"That is an understatement, but yes, we are very proud he was given that recognition. Talking to him years ago, he didn't feel like he was doing a job. He felt that was what anyone would have done. He did not feel special in any way. It is a great honor for the Family and we are very proud of him," she said.