Bradford Freeman – Last Surviving Member of Easy Company Dead at 97

Faye Higbee
freeman

If you love war movies, then you likely watched the HBO Series “Band of Brothers” that followed Easy Company of the 101st Airborne on their adventures though WWII. It wasn’t all fiction: Easy Company really existed, and their warriors were the stuff of legend. The last surviving member of the Company, Bradford Freeman, died at the age of 97 on July 3 in Caledonia, Mississippi.

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Easy Company member Bradford Freeman,

Easy Company was formed in 1942 at Camp Toccoa in Georgia. They were attached to 2nd Battalion, 506th PIR (Parachute Infantry Regiment) of the 101st Airborne Division. Eventually, the unit made a name for themselves with their grit and determination …and close friendships during the war. It was those close friendships that inspired Stephen Ambrose to write the book “Band of Brothers.”

The members of Easy Company fought in nearly every major land battle in WWII. Among them are Operation Overlord (D-Day where they lost 65 men), Operation Market Garden (the allied attempt to retake The Netherlands), Operation Pegasus (the rescue of allied soldiers on the Lower Rhine), Battle of the Bulge (Bastogne), the liberation of Dachau Concentration Camp, and Occupation duty at Hitler’s “Eagle’s Nest” in Austria.

The unit was disbanded after the war, but reactivated in 1954 as a training unit.

Bradford’s many awards and decorations from the war

The Band of Brothers HBO series was produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, and encompassed 10 episodes that followed the characters of Easy Company through their training at Camp Toccoa and on through WWII.

Freeman is survived by a sister, two daughters, 4 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren.

The “Greatest Generation” wasn’t perfect, but they were willing to fight for their country. They encountered horrific situations, such as concentration camps full of bodies and prisoners that had been starved to the point of death. Easy Company was a microcosm of the close personal bonds that form between brothers-in-arms during war. God Bless all who have fought for our nation.

Rest in Peace, Bradford Freeman.

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Featured screenshot USAF photo by Keith Holcomb (2020)

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