The United States government was still calling the involvement of U.S. military personnel in Viet Nam a "police action," but from the intensity of the fighting in the la Drang Valley that day of November 14, 1965, it certainly looked like a war. Especially to the battalion of American soldiers pinned down by so much enemy fire that the medical evacuation helicopters refused to fly to their aid. Without supplies and the evacuation of the many wounded, the Americans stood the chance of being completely wiped out.
At that point, helicopter pilot Ed Freeman and his commander Bruce Crandall together decided to volunteer to fly their unarmed Hueys into Landing Zone X-Ray, a mere hundred meters or so from the perimeter of the fighting. Time after time the two men flew directly through enemy gunfire to the imperiled American soldiers. They brought water, ammunition, and medical supplies, and returned with the severely wounded. From the time the medical evacuation was halted, Freeman and Crandall made fourteen more trips into the beleaguered zone. Many on hand that day were quick to say that the entire unit might have been eliminated if not for the heroics of those two men, and the thirty wounded soldiers rescued that day most certainly would have perished.
Freeman and Crandall were considered crazy for flying again and again directly into the face of overwhelming enemy fire. But, like true Rascals, they did it anyway for the sake of their brothers in arms. Men were counting on them and they refused to let them down, no matter the risk to them personally. In the service of others they risked it all. For their uncommon valor, extraordinary heroism, and dedication to duty, Freeman and Crandall were awarded the U.S. military's highest recognition, the Medal of Honor.