unique visitors counter “True American Hero”: Last Surviving ‘Band of Brothers’ Member Bradford Freeman Dead At 97: “We need to honor those people, we owe them more than we could ever repay – Washington News

“True American Hero”: Last Surviving ‘Band of Brothers’ Member Bradford Freeman Dead At 97: “We need to honor those people, we owe them more than we could ever repay

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The last surviving member of Easy Company, the World War II unit made famous by the “Band of Brothers” book and HBO miniseries has passed away. Bradford Freeman died July 3 at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle, in Caledonia, Miss. He was 97.

Freeman was played in the 2001 HBO miniseries by actor James Farmer. The series was based on the bestselling 1992 book, “Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne: From Normandy to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest,” by Stephen E. Ambrose.

“He was in every major engagement in Europe during World War II,” a Columbus, Miss., local historian, Rufus Ward, said according to Stars and Stripes. “He’s a true American hero and we need to honor those people…we owe them more than we could ever repay them.”

According to a band of Brothers fan wikiFreeman volunteered for the paratroopers and following jump school was assigned to Easy Company, whom he joined in England in February 1944. In Easy, he was assigned to Sgt. Donald Malarkey’s 4th squad in 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.

For the drop into Normandy, Freeman was assigned to Lt. Buck Compton’s “stick 70”. In addition to his other equipment, Freeman was weighed down by the eighteen pound mortar baseplate that was strapped to his chest.

Having safely landed, Freeman spent the remainder of D-Day protecting the intersection at Brecourt Manor.

Along with Malarkey, Freeman assisted Alton More in More’s infamous theft of a motorcycle from Utah Beach.

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 Lt. Col Clarence Hester that he could not swim, but Hester did not believe him, stating that “no boy from Mississippi couldn’t swim.”

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 January 14th, 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.

He returned to Easy Company on April 7th and participated in their occupation of Berchtesgaden and Austria.

He was discharged along with the remainder of Easy Company in November 1945.