Bradford C. Freeman, the only sole survivor of the WWII unit known as the “Brand of Brothers,” has died at the age of 97.
As per sources, during the night of June 6, 1944, Freeman parachuted into Normandy, France. When the paratrooper made the leap, he was wearing an 18-pound mortar plate attached to his chest.
Freeman explained last year to Janis Allen, director of the Veterans History Museum of the Carolinas that they had to grab the site and acquire the large cannons so the Germans couldn’t meddle with the men coming ashore,
He believe they were lucky enough to accomplish it correctly. They guarded the region and allowed the Army to pass. They had landed and were getting on with their business.
I’m saddened to learn of the passing of Bradford Freeman, our last surviving member of the famous Band of Brothers from War World II. America has lost one of its true heroes, and I am forever grateful for Mr. Freeman’s service to our Nation. He will be missed. pic.twitter.com/UazXo1O0Rr— GEN James C. McConville (@ArmyChiefStaff) July 9, 2022
After their D-Day mission, Freeman and the rest of Easy Company battled their way throughout Western Europe as the Allies tried to bring an end to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. Their efforts and deeds were immortalised on the small screen in HBO’s blockbuster series Band of Brothers.
According to his interview with the Veterans History Museum of the Carolinas, when the United States entered World War II, Freeman was a freshman at Mississippi State University. He entered the Army on December 19, 1942, and went through rigorous training before joining Easy Company in England in February 1944.
Following the death of Edward Shames in December of last year (2021), Freeman became the sole living Easy Company WWII veteran. Unfortunately, he died on Sunday, July 3.
According to historian Rufus Ward in a 2020, Freeman was engaged in “almost every significant action in Europe throughout WWII,” including Operation Market Garden in September 1944 and the Siege of Bastogne in December 1944, all of which were heavily depicted in the aforementioned HBO series.
The paratrooper once described being shot during the latter operation. They stated he was shot by a ‘Screaming Mimi,’ said Freeman.
One could hear it coming, but there’s nothing one can do about it. They said that the shot was carried out by a little child.
Freeman is known to have seldom spoken about his wartime experiences after the war. He married Willie Louise Gurley and settled in Caledonia, Mississippi, where he served as a mail carrier for 32 years after returning to civilian life.
Later, at the request of Easy Company’s commander, Major Dick Winters, he contributed to Stephen E. Ambrose’s 1992 book Band of Brothers – the motivator for the show of the same name – but told the National WWII museum that he “had little to say” and that “there was a lot in the book that he knew nothing about.”
His two daughters, four grandsons, and 10 great-grandchildren survive him.
Bradford D. Freeman, rest in peace and thank you for your service. Your courage in the face of actual evil will be remembered forever.
Please join us in wishing this great man a peaceful death.