PFC Bradford Freeman, D-Day Veteran (Full Interview)

PFC Bradford Freeman, D-Day Veteran (Full Interview)

Tell us your name and where you were
born. Bradford Freeman, Bradford Clark Freeman and born in artesian Mississippi. Do you have any other family members that have been in the military? Yes four
brothers. When did you join the army? December the 12th 1942. And what was
your motivation for joining? They told me I could finished up that year at college
if I joined and I done already got my driving I mean draft notice. What were
you taking in college? Agriculture. Where were you on December 7th 1941? I was down
Crawford at a girl’s house we was at the swing and the mother came out crying and
said go home and I went home and now when I got home my mother was crying and
she knows what it was. I didn’t know what it’s all about but I soon learned.
And how old were you then? 18 some where about that. Tell us a little bit about when you join
what your training was like. Whenever I had to go I didn’t have to go until
April of ’43. I went down to Camp Shelby and they got in and got my uniform but
they didn’t have no six size shoe so I had to wear my Sunday shoes to Fort
McClellan Alabama and we there we started training infantry training and
that it is and April May June and then I 16 weeks right right….but they got my shoes pretty quick there. but anyway then I went to
Fort Benning then go on them and I got my wings in November and from there that
night there were two planes that jumped that night. First time they jumped at
night and then the third plane it fell out to the sky and nineteen people got
killed so then they gave me a 14 days travel time I went back home and I was
supposed to be in or somewhere up in North Carolina anyway
and and so i supposed to be up there thanksgiving day
I said they should’ve left me home home to eat chicken and turkey
but they didn’t. You mentioned that you got your wings would you explain that?
Well you had to pack your shoot and jump it too but you had to go through five times
before you got it. So I got my wings I jumped to feel time. And where were you
assigned when you receive your wings? I was at Fort Benning when I you
tell them when I was assigned to go. Was that the 101st air
force division? No that was a 541st first regiment. When did you when were
you a part of the 101st? I entered Foreign Service on February
the 5th ’44 and I went to oh over then they uh I landed it someplace
I don’t know where it would but anyway when they came and got me they came and
old and put it right in with E company. Tell us a little bit about your
experience with the 101st first. Well we jump we trained and then from then
well it was about to 14th or something or other. From then we
trained will and there was a about 19 of us and I was corporal when
it was a 541st but when I got there they demoted me and I stayed there PLC
the rest of the time and I wound up with the four squad which was malarky squad
and it was mortar I was in mortar squad all the time with malarkey. Tell me about
your experiences leading up to d-day? Well we’re trained
we were tried they wanted you to shoot marksmanship so we went to the range pretty regular and then we jumped pretty regular all over the country and
England. I didn’t know where all it was been making the difference cold
what I’m doing then get trained know and we were about ready to go jump in France.
Leading up to that did you have any idea of the massive undertaking you were
about to do. Yes because we was around all the other
people alright smart
what and we knew what we were going to. Whenever we went .. we
trained in Bristol England a lot so then I don’t know where we went but our our
plane was higher than then the dangle down below whenever we went they carried
us out there and we stayed at the end that camp for two three days we were back
shoots and one stuff another and then we we couldn’t map-reading and all that
kind of stuff we worked on that so whenever we couldn’t
get we couldn’t get put a closer about fifty feet of the fence around the base
if you got closer you had to ask the fella in a tower up there if you could go
get you ball or something playing ball moves all around that playing ball and
looked up another and of course they was on guard nobody could get close to the
fence cause they won’t nobody talk to us we stayed there till we were supposed
to go to fields. General Eisenhower was out there with us then he left you know so
waited till the 6th and he was back again and he left us a message
they warned us – told us had 8 hours to clear the beach you know they say when we
went through currents in Jersey Islands that’s when we knew we was in battle.
We got hacked at we couldn’t see nothing and that’s when the planes spread out
they didn’t drop us where we were supposed to but it was a good thing so
we just dropped from there. How far off were you all from where you
were supposed to go? I really don’t know where the thing was but I didn’t
ever see it but they told me that we didn’t need to see it because we wouldn’t we
wouldn’t have been there if we hadn’t jumped what we’re supposed to.
So tell us about your job your experience
once you’ve up the plane? Well we didn’t it didn’t take long to get to the ground
and the planes were not together and uh and I thought I
could I thought afterwards that I saw my plane company commanders plane go by but
I was already on the ground and it looked like it was just over the
treetops going down never thought nothing about it being going to the
ground but it did. They was all killed they say. So then I was by myself.
Then moon was gone coming out behind the clouds just coming down away and it was a pretty
night I had the base plate and I don’t know I hurt my knee someway I dont know I
thought I hit a stump but anyway it just sort of swelled up on and I had the base
plate and I you know folders stock-car beam that was my weapon. Malarky had the
bipod tripod and the q as another way Thats the way it was out there. Tell me about your fellow that you helped once you landed
you had to patch up. I had to Tell me about your fellow that you helped once you landed
you had to patch up. I had to his legs were broke you know so I just
went pulled his shoot out and he was next to some bushes right next to the road and I
told him I had to go because that was our our orders were if you can help people
if he’s in trouble that was our order. So from that point
where did you go next? Well I went and joined up with the company they was up in the
woods beyond I did find them that is it. How long were y’all on the ground?
Before four started got together well we were on that one but the lawn we
gather put it pretty quick I know and we found that the winders he
was there and uh malarkey, well just most most of us. Well we were done whatever.
So for the next weeks, months what did you do? That night but that night we we gaurded the roads and he point whenever
he picked out that he called 13 boys they told them to get to be good and they
got them and we was rest of us was guarding the roads that nobody go down
cause I didn’t see nobody trying to go down well the road eyes on so that is
all right and thats the way it wound up and when they would have got back and over the
top well there was five boys got captured, Germans. and one of them went to school with Malarky in Seattle Washington and
then we never knew what happened to the prisoners we went on they took the
prisoners the way they went I don’t know. Never did know which way they went
and didn’t know what happened to him. Can you tell us a little bit about
Operation Market Garden? Yes sir, well that was a beautiful Sunday
afternoon and we we were well escorted we had the B47 below us, P 52
beside us, P 38 above us and we could see them out the plane then we made a good
jump and I don’t know I’ve had two or three different people say that there
was we were we cleared the field but there were two gliders coming in and
they run together and turn right back it and we were told that general well I cant think of his name right now but I’ll get it in a minute, that he was killed and so they
told me later that he wasn’t but he that’s what we heard and so I don’t all
know what General I’ll get him back to I know we went on and went and went on and shared
, we went to the bridge it was it and then we turned it over to the
British and the British are they came and and they stopped there then they
said that the Germans were floated down the river and below the bridge and we did
we had done left and they called us back to help them get a the bridge across we
did that and then we went on. and I don’t know we just scattered out then
and went different ways and we didn’t find too much to do right on that first
but we got it and we got to focus on the beach
very well. Can you tell us a little bit about the Battle of the Bulge? Well we
were in Harlech only and we went went on to a French camp there and they gave us
a five-day pass that is you know we came out in November 29th I think it was and
we came out to that old French camp and got a five-day pass to pass. one day was
enough for me and I didn’t just hang around in in the camp and we weren’t doing nothing but there was a people for I did go and see that
leaning tower but it had then I had to walk back or because I couldnt catch us bus. I was a long ways you know so we made that trip got back to camp and just passed
around just hung around in there and then but then it wasn’t but I don’t know
the 18th of December we loaded up in some trucks and went up to passed on I didn’t know nothing about what was
happening below but we are told to hold that town and that was our objective
that’s what we’re doing General McCullough for her general and so
he gave us a Christmas card you might say told us what we did all that kind of
stuff and he told that the Germans wanted them to surrender but he told him no. So
he gave us he gave us a paper with all that in it. What were the conditions like
it was cold for a southern boy I’m talking about way down. How far down do you remember? Below five I think. I think I understand that you were wounded in that battle? Yes.
But we were well I will what what happened we were so we was relieved and
we went back towards Bastogne and went off the road in the fifth
thicket then and dug in about time when we got through digging in enough to sort of
hit the ground and put a knee deep snow they told us I had to go and get treat
clean out three times one of them I never can’t think of and the other two
were four and normal so they got that and we was going and we were playing
along going didnt think nothing about it we were we had been manned we didn’t know
what we’re so they just wanted to go sleep at that clean them out and so we
wouldn’t we hadn’t even got to the town that we were supposed to
get whenever. A screaming Mimi come in and got me in the leg but it didn’t it
didn’t get the bone it got it – you’ve got a leader in my left but every of my
right right there so we went out and another boy got hit too- and he was he was from a Pennsylvania I seen him one time we went up even he was but he his
arm was he had to do that my leg got alright not come back to him an apron. So what is
the screaming mimi? I don’t know but it come in howling and it it it exploded how long
did you recover? I came back to them in April 15. What did you do after the war I
came home and I was about the only boys got a job I have helped my daddy head corn
he had moved and we were he’s back he was born and raised back where he came we
would render in 410 acres so he can have no nothin he couldn’t get no help doing no
so he move come on back and I bought him place up it is what we call Sandy Land
we were raised in a prayer and to move it and so he we helped him he had a
little corn pasture all the brothers beat me home so I was the last of them so we
got the corn out I got a job on the road just working roadwork driving truck
hauling gravel driving a cat did just one thing to another and worked on
that two years then I had sent part of my money home and I decided that farm and
I lost that just went to work at the at just started one thing to another then I got
married had two children going this at home then in ’54 there was a mail route over and I talked
to the boss it was about the mail one that was the man in charge of it I’d
asked about it when I got the job with ASC office map reading and mapping and
as I’ve done that before the war boy that’s concerned. you know you got that
that I was working with this the ASC office mapping measured tightening
we’re just mapping it out what it was in the field we would sow. You know so I just
went along I’d have to make certain them I was anything happening they know and
and I heard that they wouldn’t hire a fella
when 30 years old and so I was working for the gene when the
postmaster came down and told me I had added a fourth of October there was 30
days after I was 30 years old and I got a job and I run it at 32 years then I
got out. Later on with my farm I bought a farm while I was in 86 acres. How
would you say that your time and service impacted you life? I always I had to name
it if I was trying to do something they
always said I would try until I got it done
or you forget it and that about it. So I see you ribbons in your metal could you
briefly describe each of the metals that you’re wearing? Blue purple heart but anyway this one’s got your four stars and Indian raw and I don’t I don’t know
what all you had a good conduct but my children said that they didn’t believe
that. Which one the good conduct? yes. And I see you have the rifle up top? an what are those? stars Oh for the
jumps. Two jumps to combat jumps and then then here I don’t know what that is. And what about on your right side? that presidential thing to blue and that
there’s a French and all is them other things I don’t know they were something.
I know I couldn’t get enough outta them. Is there anything that you would like to
add? Just proud of made it. And we’re proud to have you here and thank you for
your service and thank you for your time to come and do this interview. Thank you

10 thoughts on “PFC Bradford Freeman, D-Day Veteran (Full Interview)

  1. god bless ya mr.freeman from a proud airborne veteran from abbeville,mississippi I fought with the 173rd airborne. we're real proud of you !

  2. Brad!!! I know you will not see this .. .. But glad we are friends and sorry I had to move,but I still get to see you every few months 🙂 Thelma Lou says " Hey "

  3. Interviewer said 101st Air Force division 🙂 That was a goof 🙂 Great interview. Wonder why he was not mentioned in the Band of Brothers series? But come to think of it, they never mentioned mortars in that series like they did in the Pacific series. Brave man, thank you for your Brave Service to our Nation !! We will really miss the greatest generation with all these sorry ass, ingrate, snowflakes we now have !

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