Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ed "Too Tall" Freeman

Remembering a Hero
From an e-mail I received this morning:

You’re a 19 year old kid. You’re critically wounded, and dying in the jungle in the Ia Drang Valley, 11-14-1965, LZ X-ray, 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 half 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 helicopter, and you look up to see an un-armed 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.

From Wikipedia:

On November 14, 1965, Freeman and his unit transported a battalion of American soldiers to the Ia Drang Valley. Later, after arriving back at base, they learned that the soldiers had come under intense fire and had taken heavy casualties. Enemy fire around the landing zones was so heavy that the medical evacuation helicopters refused to enter the area. Freeman and his commander, Major Bruce Crandall, volunteered to fly their unarmed, lightly armored helicopters in support of the embattled troops. Freeman made a total of fourteen trips to the battlefield, bringing in water and ammunition and taking out wounded soldiers.

Freeman was sent home from Vietnam in 1966 and retired from the military the next year. He settled in the Treasure Valley area of Idaho, his wife Barbara's home state, and continued to work as a pilot. He used his helicopter to fight wildfires, perform animal censuses, and herd wild horses for the Department of the Interior until his final retirement in 1991.

Freeman's commanding officer nominated him for the Medal of Honor for his actions at Ia Drang, but not in time to meet a two-year deadline then in place. He was instead awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. The Medal of Honor nomination was disregarded until 1995, when the two-year deadline was removed. He was formally presented with the medal on July 16, 2001, by President George W. Bush.

Freeman died on August 20, 2008 due to complications from Parkinson's disease. He was buried in the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery in Boise.

In the 2002 film We Were Soldiers, which depicted the Battle of Ia Drang, Freeman was portrayed by Mark McCracken. The post office in Freeman's hometown of McLain, Mississippi, was renamed the "Major Ed W. Freeman Post Office" in March 2009.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Iran's Post-Election Crisis

"The United States must seek out opportunities for resolving the increasingly urgent impasse over Iran’s nuclear program and addressing the broader array of concerns about Iranian policy. The elections have not changed the fact that negotiations represent the best of a range of unappealing options available to Washington. However, as a result of the increasingly arbitrary actions by Iran’s leadership, the American diplomatic approach has become more complicated and a successful resolution of the three-decade long estrangement becomes unfortunately less likely."
-Suzanne Maloney, June 14, 2009
Saban Center for Middle East Policy

For the entire article, click here.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

HERO - Coast Guard Vet saves lives

Heroic Nurse, Shot 27 Times, Saved Lives
Coast Guard Vet Died While Alerting Others As Gunman Went On Rampage In N.C. Nursing Home

ROCKINGHAM, N.C., March 30, 2009

(CBS) Jerry Avant Jr. died while protecting others.

Doctors said the 39-year-old male nurse was shot more than two dozen times Sunday while trying to shield others from a gunman at a Carthage, N.C. nursing home.

The suspect, 45-year-old Robert Stewart, seemingly picked his targets at random, moving from room to room inside the Pinelake Health and Rehab Center in Carthage, N.C., shooting 11 people in all, eight fatally.

Seven of the eight killed were patients at the facility, where police say Stewart's ex-wife was employed.

Avant's father, Jerry Avant Sr., told CBS Affiliate WRAL-TV that the doctor told him his son was a hero. "He said he undoubtedly saved a lot
of lives before he went down, because he counted, himself, 27 bullet holes."

Avant was a 10-year veteran of the Coast Guard before he became a male nurse.

Avant's fiancée, Jill DeGarmo, a medical technician who was working at Pinelake's Alzheimer's unit when the shooting began, told CBS' The Early Show that she'd heard Avant over the intercom: "I couldn't make out everything he was trying to say, something about 'Lock the doors.' And one of the girls got a call that there had been a shooter in the building.

"And the first thing we did, we grabbed the patients as quickly as possible and got them in a room that would hold everyone. We put the blinds down and made sure everyone was in there. Turned the lights off, got it quiet."

Shortly after, DeGarmo said she heard doors open up "and we heard a couple of shots go off."

DeGarmo stayed with the patients until word spread that the gunman had been apprehended - and that her fiancée had been shot. "I went to the front to see where he was. He was laying on the floor bleeding. I ran and got some towels and tried to help control his bleeding the best I could until someone got there."

"He told me he felt like he was dying. And I kept telling him he wasn't going to die, everything would be OK.

"And he asked me to pray with him. And he started to pray. And he said a couple more times, he said, 'I'm dying.' I guess … I just didn't think that way. I didn't think that no matter how bad it got … he was not going to die, he was going to be OK. And he was losing consciousness. I just tried to keep him awake the best I could until someone got there. And then once the paramedics got there, they took over."

DeGarmo followed him to the hospital where he was taken into surgery.

"The doctor informed me during surgery - he had come out and spoke with me- [that] his heart had stopped. And they did revive him, but I guess his heart stopped the second time around, and they couldn't revive him. He had lost too much blood."

Avant's sister, Frances Greene, said she wanted the world to remember her brother as "a very compassionate, wonderful person.

"I couldn't have went out and hand-picked a better brother," she told Early Show anchor Julie Chen. "I mean, God blessed me with a wonderful brother for 39 years. And I love him so much. And I'm going to miss him, so much."

Avant's father told WRAL that he takes solace in knowing his son may have saved many more lives.

"Like it said in the Bible, John 15:13, any man that would lay down his life for another man, that's good."

For the original article, click here.