ADJ2 Madison Freeman

Larry Bradshaw

by ADJ2 Madison Freeman

ADJ2 MADISON H. FREEMAN, U.S.N. was assigned to Helicopter Attack (Light) Squadron Three, Seawolves, Republic of Vietnam,from December 1969 to August 1971 as a combat aircrew door gunner/crew chief. First serving in Binh Thuy and then sent to Detachment 3 at Ca Mau, RVN, Where he served as a Door Gunner/Crew Chief on a Navy UH1B Huey Helicopter Fire Team providing close air support for Navy SEALS, Brown Water Navy Boats, Marines, Army, and other friendly ground forces.

The aircraft on which he served were armed with fourteen 2.75 inch rockets, one pod mounted mini gun, with one bird having a door mounted mini gun and the other had a door mounted fifty cal, M-60 machine guns, M16 rifles, M79 grenade launchers, hand grenades, flares and various personal weapons. His squadron was the most decorated Navy Squadron of the Vietnam war and was the first and only such squadron. During his tour he flew 350 combat missions in the Republic of Vietnam and Cambodia.

This is one of many distinctive combat actions that could be written for his Roll of Honor nomination.

His fire team was staging out of Ca Mau on 29 April 1971 in support of a planned United States and South Vietnamese SEAL operation to capture guard personnel of a Viet Cong POW camp and release any prisoners.

Det-3 gunships were to fly cover for two of our Squadron's SEALORDS (unarmed slicks) aircraft which would insert the SEAL Team and go high while the 2 gunships covered the operation. The insertion of the SEAL Team went as planned and they captured 4 guards, but there were no prisoners.

The SEAL Team, upon calling for extraction from two landing zones, came under heavy fire. One of the SEALORDS, Petty Officer Freeman's gunship and the other gunship went in to extract the prisoners and part of the SEAL Team.

As the SEALORD landed, all three aircraft came under heavy enemy fire. The initial barrage of enemy fire critically wounded the copilot of the SEALORD and one of the gunners on the other gunship took a round in the head.

Petty Officer Freeman returned accurate fire with his M-60, pinpointing enemy positions closest to the extraction point. His gunship broke off it's approach and while continually firing, made low level attacks, drawing the enemy fire. This allowed the Sealord Helicopter, with the enemy prisoners and some of the SEALS, to clear the kill zone.

During this time Petty Officer Freeman exchanged fire with the enemy gunners, sometimes at point blank range.

The Sealord, with the prisoners and wounded copilot, plus the other gunship with the wounded gunner, left the area to medevac the wounded to Ca Mau.

While waiting for another Seawolf fire team to arrive and assist in the fire fight, Petty Officer Freeman continued to exchange fire with the enemy, supporting the remaining SEALS on the ground.

Darkness was fast approaching, and his aircraft was low on fuel and ammunition.

When the other fire team arrived, the remaining Sealord and Petty Officer Freeman's gunship landed and made a successful extraction of the rest of the SEAL Team while under heavy fire.

For this action, and his courage under fire Petty Officer Freeman received the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Recent War Stories

by Marty Twite Capt. USN (RET) C.O. 4/70-4/71
by Roger Ek, Seawolf 25
by Reprinted with permission , "Naval Aviation News" August 1968
by Roger Ek, Seawolf 25
by Roger Ek, Seawolf 25
by Bill Rutledge
by AECS W. R. Rutledge
by fellow shipmate and gunner, Bill Rutledge
by Thurman L. Hicks