Freeman, Bradford Clark “Brad”.

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Freeman, Bradford Clark “Brad”, born 04-12-1924 in Artesia, Lowndes County, Mississippi, USA the son of Erwyn Julious Freeman (1885-1969) and his wife Ollie Clara, born Henderson Freeman (1889-1983)   Brad was the seventh child of rural farmers, four brothers and three sisters, Albert Lloyd Freeman (1908-1911) Thomas Glover Freeman ( 1916-2009) and Jewell Freeman-Brown ( 1910-2005) and Addie Clara Freeman Friedman (1922–2017).

Before the war, he attended Mississippi State University but dropped out so he could enlist in the Army in December 1942. Freeman volunteered for the paratroopers and following jump school was assigned to Easy Company, whom he joined in England in February 1944. In Easy Company of the 101 Airborne Division , he was assigned to Sergeant. Donald “Don” Malarkey‘s 4th squad in Major Richard “Dick” Winters 1st platoon. While in England, Freeman became especially close to Dick Winters, despite their rank differential. As a trooper with some college education, Winters offered to send Freeman to Officers Candidate School, but Freeman declined.

Before the dropping in Normandy Brad Freeman was assigned to Lieutenant” Lynn “Buck” Compton’s stick 70″.  In this image released by HBO, Second World War veterans, from left, Sid Phillips, Buck Compton, Bradford Freeman, and William “Wild Bill” Guarnere pose at the screening of the “Band of Brothers” and “The Pacific” special edition DVD set at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans on 11-11-2011.

In addition to his other equipment, Freeman was weighed down by the eighteen pound mortar baseplate that was strapped to his chest.  The green light lit up the inside of the Douglas C-47 Skytrain’s fuselage, and 20 paratroopers from Easy Company’s Stick 70, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division charged out the door. Twenty-year-old Private Bradford “Brad” Clark Freeman, the fifth man in line, exited and his parachute quickly popped open. In the intermittent light of the full moon, he could see a pasture rushing up at him. He counted five cows below before he hit the ground.

“It was a nice jump,” Freeman recalled. He noticed one of the cows had a white face and red body, reminding him of the cows on his family farm in Artesia, Mississippi. For a brief second, he thought he was home before remembering he was now in enemy territory with a war to fight.

As Freeman freed himself from his jump harness, he looked skyward and saw paratroopers jumping out of another C-47. Their parachutes blossomed, and the men drifted to the ground. One man landed by a nearby road. Freeman rushed over and discovered it was his friend Private Lewis Lampos from Georgia, who slept across from him at their Aldbourne, England, barracks. Lampos had broken his leg. Freeman gathered up Lampos’s parachute and hid it in the woods then dragged him into some bushes. He briefly treated Lampos’s leg and told him if any vehicle passed by to shoot the driver. Then he took off to find more paratroopers as Lampos cursed after him. “They told us if you couldn’t help a wounded paratrooper,” explained Freeman, “you had to move on.”

Freeman eventually joined a mixed group of paratroopers led by Lieutenant Richard “Dick” Winters. When Freeman mentioned that he thought he had landed on his farm, the other soldiers ribbed him. Sergeant William “Wild Bill” Guarnere   repeatedly asked him, “What makes your big head so hard?”

Along with Malarkey, Freeman assisted Alton Merton More in More’s infamous theft of a motorcycle from Utah Beach. Alton More survived the war but died already age 38 on 31-07-1958, in Casper/Wyoming. In Holland, Freeman and 17 other paratroopers were part of the October 22nd rescue of 125 British paratroopers. Freeman attempted to get out of this operation by informing Lieutenant Colonel Clarence R Hester that he could not swim, but Hester did not believe him, stating that “no boy from Mississippi couldn’t swim.” Clarence Hester survived the war and died 26-12-2000, age 84 in Sacramento,

Once Easy was pulled off the line in Holland, Freeman was given a five-day pass to Paris, but found Paris not to his liking and immediately returned to camp to be with his comrades. Freeman fought in the Siege of Bastogne without incident, but was wounded during the attack on Noville on 14-01-1945. He and Private Ed Joint were hit in the woods outside of Recogne by the same German Nebelwerfer rocket. Freeman was wounded by shrapnel in his right knee and Joint in his arm. Doc Roe patched both men up and sent them to the rear. This was the last combat Freeman would see and he spent the next three months recovering from his wound.

Brad returned to Easy Company on April 7th-1945 and participated in their occupation of Hitler’s Berghof in Berchtesgaden and Austria.

He was discharged along with the remainder of Easy Company in November 1945. Following the war, Freeman married Willie Girley, a childhood friend, on 29 June 1947. The couple had two daughters. He finished college on the GI Bill and worked as a mailman for over 30 years. His friendship with Dick Winters continued after the war and Winters visited Freeman’s Mississippi farm in 1990.

Death and burial ground of Bradford Clark “Brad” Freeman.

 

As of 04-12-2021, after the death of Edward Shames, Freeman aged 96, was the last surviving Easy Company man. The unit’s last surviving officer, Army Colonel. Edward David Shames,

 died one day earlier on 03-12-2021 at 99.

Bradford Clark “Brad” Freeman is buried at the Egger Cemetery Caledonia, Lowndes County, Mississippi, VS.

Message(s), tips or interesting graves for the webmaster:    robhopmans@outlook.com

 

 

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