CALEDONIA, Miss. (AP) — Bradford Freeman, the last survivor of the famed Army unit featured in the World War II oral history book and miniseries “Band of Brothers” has died at the age of 97.
Freeman died Sunday at Baptist Memorial Hospital–Golden Triangle, according to Lowndes Funeral Home in Columbus, Mississippi.
Freeman was born in Artesia, Mississippi, and a graveside funeral service will be held Friday in Caledonia, Mississippi, where he lived, according to the obituary.
Freeman was an 18-year-old student at 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 participating 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 mail carrier for 32 years,” the obituary said.
University of New Orleans historian Stephen E. Ambrose’s “Band of Brothers,” about “Easy Company” and its members, was a best-seller and inspired the 2001 HBO miniseries with the same title.
The unit’s last surviving officer died last year.
Freeman is survived by a sister, two daughters, four grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
“Our dad was always astounded that a country boy from Mississippi was able to see so many places and meet so many interesting people,” the obituary said.