A Hero Who Now Belongs to the Nation
May 13, 2008
In a driving downpour, with wind gusts up to 60 mph, 8 motorcycles, 65 private vehicles and a 54 passenger bus departed suburban Pennsylvania to transit a true American hero home to Arlington . Cpl. Michael J. Crescenz, Medal of Honor recipient, was escorted by three hundred of us. There were a couple minor glitches. Two members of the Leathernecks Motorcycle Club went down at 50 mph, but were only banged up and bruised. One of them even got back on the bike and finished the ride. At another point 5 vehicles and the bus were separated from the pack by inconsiderate drivers who cut in on the funeral procession. Everyone made it to the grave site in time though.
The Old Guard did their normal stellar job and Mike now belongs to the entire nation, as is fitting. Kudos to the PA and MD State Troopers and the Special Events section for DC Metro. They did an above average job of shepherding a truly unwieldy convoy across busy highways in the most inclement of weather. I was afforded the honor of safe guarding Mike’s Medal of Honor all day. I literally carried it on my shoulder in a leather bag for about six hours. Just having it in my possession made me feel like… well, I’m not sure I can fully explain what it felt like, but you get the idea. It was, without a doubt, the highest honor I have ever been afforded.
Finally, in a day replete with awesome experiences, special praise must go out to Inspector Tony Boyle of the Philadelphia Police Department. He rode a Philadelphia Highway Patrol bike with a Medal of Honor guideon flying. He rode directly in front of the hearse through all manner of bad weather and unruly drivers, even functioning as an extra road guard when the need arose. Tony is a Vietnam vet who told me a couple weeks ago that nothing would stop him from helping to take Mike home. He is a man of his word and I personally wish to offer him my thanks. As the rain poured down on us just seeing the lights flashing on that bike, with the guideon flapping in the wind, caused my chest to pound with excitement. Mike belongs to the nation as a whole now, as is fitting. Sleep well brother. You are finally home.
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 Medi-Vac 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 half way around the world 12000 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 Aug 30, 2009, at 80 in Boise ID.
None of that is Hollywood fiction!
May God Bless Ed Freeman.
Lest we forget those who died.....
Medal of Honor
FREEMAN, ED W.
Rank and organization: Captain U.S. Army Company A229th Assault
Helicopter Battalion First Cavalry Division (Airmobile)
Place and date: Ia Drang Valley, Republic of Vietnam, 14 November 1965
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and
Beyond the call of duty. Captain Ed W. Freeman, United States Army, distinguished himself by numerous acts of conspicuous gallantry and extraordinary intrepidity on 14 November1965, while serving with Company A229th Assault Helicopter Battalion, First Cavalry Division (Airmobile).
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 Ia Drang 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 under siege 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 estimated 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 intrepididity 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.
Medal of Honor Recipient Ed Freeman died Aug 30, 2009 at 80 in Boise ID.
Semper Fi, Major Freeman