Bradford Freeman, last survivor of famed ‘Band Of Brothers’ army unit, dies at 97

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Caledonia, Miss. (AP) – Bradford Freeman, the last survivor of the famous army unit featured in the World War II oral history book and “Band of Brothers” miniseries, has died aged 97 .

Freeman died Sunday at Baptist Memorial Hospital – Golden Triangle, according to the Lowndes Funeral Home in Columbus, Mississippi.

Freeman was born in Artesia, Mississippi, and a funeral service will be held Friday in Caledonia, Mississippi, where he lived, according to the obituary.

Freeman was an 18-year-old college student in Mississippi State when he enlisted to fight in World War II. He volunteered to become a paratrooper and became a mortarman in Company E, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division.

He parachuted into Normandy on D-Day, fought in Operation Market-Garden and was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge, later taking part in the occupations of Berchtesgaden, Germany and Austria.

“After the war he returned to Caledonia and married Willie Louise Gurley on June 29, 1947 and worked as a postwoman for 32 years,” the obituary reads.

“Band of Brothers,” by University of New Orleans historian Stephen E. Ambrose, about “Easy Company” and its members, was a bestseller and inspired the 2001 HBO miniseries bearing the same title.

The unit’s last surviving officer died last year.

Freeman is survived by one sister, two daughters, four grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

“Our father was always amazed that a boy from rural Mississippi could see so many places and meet so many interesting people,” the obituary said.



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