Robert Howard 1939 - 2009 The Most Heavily Decorated
Soldier of the Modern Era
Captain Ed Freeman Medal
of Honor Recipient United States Air Force
You're a 19 year old kid. You're critically
wounded and dying in the jungle somewhere in the Central Highlands of Viet Nam. It's November 11, 1967. LZ (landing
zone) X-ray. Your unit is outnumbered 8-1 and the enemy fire is so intense, from 100 yards away, that your CO (commanding
officer) has ordered the MedEvac helicopters to stop coming in.
You're lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns and you know you're not getting out. Your family
is half way around the world, 12,000 miles away, and you'll never see them again. As the world starts to fade in and out,
you know this is the day. Then - over the machine gun noise - you faintly hear that sound of a helicopter. You look
up to see a Huey coming in. But ... It doesn't seem real because no MedEvac markings are on it.
Captain Ed Freeman is coming in for you. He's not MedEvac so it's not his
job, but he heard the radio call and decided he's flying his Huey down into the machine gun fire anyway. Even after the
MedEvacs were ordered not to come.
And he drops it in and
sits there in the machine gun fire, as they load 3 of you at a time on board. Then he flies you up and out through the gunfire to the doctors and nurses and safety. And, he kept coming
back!! 13 more times!! Until all the wounded were out. No one knew until the mission was over that the Captain had been
hit 4 times in the legs and left arm.
He took 29 of you and your buddies out that day. Some would not have
made it without the Captain and his Huey.
Medal of Honor Recipient, Captain Ed Freeman, United
States Air Force, died last Wednesday at the age of 70, in Boise, Idaho.
Told he would be a quadriplegic, Guardsman vowed to return to work as a Chicago
Liebenson, Special to the Tribune
April 30, 2010
Medina is getting ready to do the "unthinkable."
Told by doctors last year that he would
be a quadriplegic after being severely injured in southeastern Afganistan, the Illinois Army National Guardsman and Chicago
police officer is preparing to lead the Police Memorial Foundation's sixth annual Run to Remember on Saturday.
"To represent fallen and severely injured officers is a privilege,"
said Medina whose right foot was shattered, and back and pelvis broken when a shelter toppled over on him during a mortar
fight. "To participate in it and not be in a wheelchair, I'm just overjoyed."
35, said he doesn't know if he'll be walking or running, but added with a laugh, "It depends on what my former
boss, Phil Cline, will be doing." (Cline said he will be walking).
Cline, the executive director
of the nonprofit Chicago Police Memorial Foundation and a former Chicago police superintendent, said the purpose of the 5K
run "is to show we'll never forget the sacrifices that officers and their families make.
looking forward to Pedro being there. He's an inspiration not only to cops, but to everybody," Cline said.
Medina was "devastated" when doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital told him he was going to be a quadriplegic
following the May 2009 accident.
"I had no time frame, but in my mind and heart, I thought I was going to
walk again," said Medina, a 12-year police veteran. Within a month, he was getting electrical impulses up and down his
body. "I was told that my nerves were trying to reconnect. It wasn't until I got to Tampa that I could move
my foot an inch. A week later, I was able to move it two inches."
By August, Medina had achieved his first
goal: "I stood between parallel bars and took my first steps."
There were also setbacks. A CT scan revealed
further damage in his right foot, requiring surgery that delayed his progress for a couple of months.
Gen. David Petraeus, visited him at the James A. Haley Veteran's Hospital in Tampa, Fla., and told him "Never give up."
"Just to meet him was an honor," said Medina, who earned his combat patch with the 101st Airborne Division
when Petraeus was that unit's commander.
Medina said he also received huge support from fellow police officers
and his participation in the run is a way to give back.
"I received a lot of cards and care packages,"
he said. "My partner and fellow officers visited me. It's a family. I would get calls from officers in the Tampa
area who wanted to come by, and I welcomed that."
David Uting, Medina's partner on the force for more
than 10 years, is amazed by his progress.
"He's probably in better shape than I am. He's just a total
optimist, so positive. He's always had a great attitude and demeanor, and he's very determined to get to where he
said he wanted to be."
Where he wants to be is back on the job, which he expects to be in July. "In what
capacity, I don't know," he said.
Medina said he has been assured that he had a job as long as he could
get to work and type with one finger. "I plan to do better than that," he said with a laugh. "I'll be able
to drive myself and type with two fingers."
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