January 25, 2007, - 12:32 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
**** SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATE ****
All of our brave men and women serving in Iraq are important and appreciated. As are all of those who have been injured or killed.
But when someone with a special renown is killed, we take notice because it puts the lie to those (John Kerry, Rosie O’Donnell, Matt Damon) who claim that only down-on-their-luck losers with no other choice are serving there. That couldn’t be further from the truth–the smart, skilled, well-educated, dedicated soldiers with jobs, families, and achievements that are monumental back at home.
One of those is Captain Brian S. Freeman, 31, of San Diego. He was among five Americans murdered Saturday in an ambush by terrorists dressed as U.S. troops near Karbala.
Freeman was a skilled athlete who trained for the Olympic Games and competed in bobsled and skeleton. He was formerly part of the U.S. Army elite athlete program.
Members of the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton teams learned of Freeman’s death this week while preparing for the world championships, which begin in St. Moritz, Switzerland on Thursday.
“He was one of the greatest men I have ever known,” said World Cup overall bobsled leader and 2006 Olympian Steven Holcomb, who was in the WCAP program with Freeman. “The time I spent with Brian not only made me a better person, but a better athlete. He was a brilliant, honorable humanitarian.”
Freeman was 16th in the 2003 U.S. skeleton national championships. He won a bronze medal as a four-man sled brakeman at a 2002 America’s Cup race, teaming with two-time Olympian Mike Kohn.
“Brian will always be remembered for his willingness to ride with any driver so that the driver could gain more valuable experience driving the track, even if that meant crashing a few times,” U.S. Skeleton National Program Manager Steve Peters said. “As a result, many of those drivers later went on to make future World Cup teams and the 2006 Olympic team.”
Freeman was assigned to the 412th Civil Affairs Battalion, based in Whitehall, Ohio, defense officials said.
He was born in Bakersfield, Calif. and later settled in Temecula, Calif., said his father, Randy Freeman. The 1999 West Point graduate was on active reserve.
His awards include two Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, a National Defense Service Medal and a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. He also earned Combat Action, Air Assault, Parachutist and Marksmanship Qualification badges.
“He had a fantastic sense of humor that made you want to be around him all the time,” World Cup skeleton slider Bree Schaaf-Boyer said. “This isn’t just the loss of a close friend of the bobsled and skeleton community, it’s the loss of an amazing person, father, husband and son.”
Freeman is survived by his wife and two children, ages 3 and 1.
A U.S. Olympic Committee press release about one of his 2002 competitions, he was described as showing “true grit.”
But the truest grit he showed was on the battlefield, giving his life in service of our country.
Brian S. Freeman, Rest In Peace.
**** UPDATE: Bush Presidential speechwriter, soldier, and Harvard Ph.D., Ben of Mesopotamia knew Brian Freeman and said that he was killed by Islamic militia members who were likely trained by Jaish al-Mahdi. That’s the Muqtada Al-Sadr’s terrorist Mahdi Militia a/k/a Mahdi Army.
But even though he questioned the wisdom of our being in Iraq, he said that he had made a commitment when he entered West Point in 1995, and that he was honor bound to fulfill that pledge regardless of his political beliefs.
Tags: 412th Civil Affairs Battalion, America, athlete, Bakersfield, Bree Schaaf-Boyer, Brian S. Freeman, California, Captain, Harvard, Iraq, Islamic militia, Jaish Al-Mahdi, John Kerry, Mahdi Militia a/k/a Mahdi Army, Matt Damon, men I, Mike Kohn, Ohio, Olympian Steven Holcomb, Olympic, overall bobsled leader, Randy Freeman, Rosie O'Donnell, San Diego, Skeleton National Program Manager, skilled athlete, St. Moritz, Steve Peters, Switzerland, Temecula, the Olympic Games, U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton, U.S. Olympic Committee, United States, United States Army, WCAP, Whitehall, World Cup