Bradford Clark Freeman, the final identified surviving member of the famed a hundred and first Airborne Division, Easy Company, has died, his household confirmed on July 5. He was 97.
After enlisting within the Army in 1942, Freeman volunteered to hitch the newly shaped elite paratrooper unit in February 1944.
His journey alongside his “band of brothers” — from D-Day, Operation Market Garden, the Battle of the Bulge all the best way to the occupation of Berchtesgaden and Austria — was later tailored from Stephen E. Ambrose’s guide into the Emmy award-winning HBO sequence of the identical title.
Recounting his experiences of the battle in an interview with American Veterans Center in 2018, Freeman described being hit within the leg by a “Screaming Mimi” — an American nickname for the Nebelwerfer, a form of German rocket artillery — in the course of the determined battle in Bastogne.
When requested precisely what a Screaming Mimi was, the previous mortarman laughed.
“I don’t know, but it come in hollering. It exploded,” Freeman mentioned.
“It was cold for a Southern boy,” the Mississippian added, describing Bastogne.
The recipient of a Purple Heart for his wound, Freeman managed to rejoin his unit in May 1945 earlier than the occupation of Berchtesgaden, the situation of Hitler’s famed Eagle’s Nest.
It was there that Hitler had deliberate his conquest of Europe, the place the place he had hosted heads of state, the place the place the German Führer relaxed and held courtroom on varied subjects to an intimate retinue of social gathering cronies, it was additionally the second seat of authorities, after Berlin.
Freeman was there to witness all of it.
“Our dad was always astounded that a country boy from Mississippi was able to see so many places and meet so many interesting people,” his daughters, Beverly Bowles and Becky (Don) Clardy, wrote in Freeman’s obituary.
After the battle, Freeman returned to his hometown, Caledonia, Mississippi, the place he married Willie Louise Gurley and labored as a mail service for 32 years earlier than retiring.
The battle — and its classes — by no means left him, nonetheless.
“If I was trying to do something, I always said I would try until I got it done,” Freeman informed the American Veterans Center.
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