Medal of Honor recipient Ed Freeman dies

Medal of Honor recipient Ed Freeman dies
BOISE - Idaho Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Ed Freeman has passed away.

He was 80 years old.

Freeman, who lived in Boise, died at about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday from complications from Parkinson's disease, a family member said.

Freeman was a Vietnam veteran who was honored for his heroic services. He piloted a helicopter and saved more than 30 men during the war.

His heroics grew nation wide attention when his character was featured in Mel Gibson's war movie, "We Were Soldiers." Actor Mark McCracken played the character of Ed "Too Tall" Freeman in the popular flick.

The family released a statement Wednesday afternoon:

"Our family is grateful for all the wonderful wishes we've received these past few weeks, from our friends and from those we don't even know. The support of the people of Idaho has been overwhelming, and my father really appreciated those kind words and wishes."

"He had visits from Governor Otter, Secretary of the Interior Kempthorne and Major General Lafrenz of the Idaho National Guard. Many others either came to see him or passed on their kind words to us."

"My father touched a lot of people over the years during his career in the U.S. Army and as a civilian pilot with the federal government at the National Interagency Fire Center. People could relate to him, and those who knew him have told me they thought of him as a wonderful, friendly, humorous person with a lot of integrity."

"He made an impression on people. I knew him not only as my father, but as my best friend. We spent many hours together, fishing and just hanging out with each other. My family and I will miss him more than words can express."

Freeman's funeral will be held at 11 a.m. at 2760 E Fairview Ave. in Meridian. Burial will be at Idaho State Veterans Cemetery.