Last ‘Band of Brothers’ Soldier Dies at Age 97



Bradford Clark Freeman, the final identified surviving member of the famed a hundred and first Airborne Division, Straightforward Firm, has died, his household confirmed on July 5. He was 97. 

After enlisting within the Military in 1942, Freeman volunteered to hitch the newly fashioned elite paratrooper unit in February 1944.  

His journey alongside his “band of brothers” — from D-Day, Operation Market Backyard, the Battle of the Bulge all the best way to the occupation of Berchtesgaden and Austria — was later tailored from Stephen E. Ambrose’s e-book into the Emmy award-winning HBO collection of the identical identify.   

Recounting his experiences of the struggle in an interview with American Veterans Heart in 2018, Freeman described being hit within the leg by a “Screaming Mimi” — an American nickname for the Nebelwerfer, a type 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, however it are available hollering. It exploded,” Freeman stated. 

“It was chilly for a Southern boy,” the Mississippian added, describing Bastogne. 

The recipient of a Purple Coronary heart for his wound, Freeman managed to rejoin his unit in Could 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 celebration cronies, it was additionally the second seat of presidency, after Berlin. 

Freeman was there to witness all of it. 

“Our dad was all the time astounded {that a} nation boy from Mississippi was in a position to see so many locations and meet so many fascinating folks,” his daughters, Beverly Bowles and Becky (Don) Clardy, wrote in Freeman’s obituary.  

After the struggle, 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 struggle — and its classes — by no means left him, nevertheless. 

“If I used to be attempting to do one thing, I all the time stated I might strive till I acquired it performed,” Freeman informed the American Veterans Heart. 

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