Chief Warrant Officer Five (CW5) Jeffery W. Freeman recently retired with “recognition for distinguished performance of duty that represents achievement in the finest traditions of the United States Army” after 35 years of service. He has had an amazing and exemplary career in the Army; one that inspires and uplifts anyone who learns about it.
Jeffery Freeman was born in Boise, Ida. His mother is Winnie Mae Wright Freeman from Bennington. His family still owns a cabin and farmland in Bennington, and he plans to spend two weeks every year in that cabin as part of his retirement. He has fond memories of working on the farms, moving pipe, and hunting and fishing. He especially remembers working with Pat Wilde on the Highline Trail.
Freeman graduated from Bear Lake High School in 1983 where he played football for the school team. He went on from there to play football for Utah State University, but an injury caused him to be unable to play any more, at which point, he chose to enlist in the Air Force were he spent seven years. He then made the decision to join the Army where he eventually got a commission and began to rise up in the ranks.
Most of Freeman’s time in the Army was spent flying. From 1991-2000, he was Pilot-In-Command/Platoon Leader in the Idaho Army National Guard for an air assault company. He was Platoon Leader for Class III/V platoon responsible for 33 soldiers.
From 2001-2005, Freeman was Battalion Safety Officer/Instructor Pilot for the US Army where he was a UH-60 Section Leader/Instructor Pilot and Instrument Flight Examiner stationed in Seoul, Korea and Fort Rucker, Alabama.
From 2005-2011, he was on an Eastern Army National Guard Aviation Training Site (Active Guard Reserve) as a Senior Instructor Pilot/Instrument Examiner in the UH-60 Blackhawk and EC-145 Lakota helicopter. He did extensive platform instruction in flight planning, night vision goggles, and aircraft systems. During that time he held the positions of Safety Officer, Platoon Leader, and Section Leader.
From 2011-2014, Freeman was a Company Safety Officer/Platoon Leader/Pilot-In-Command selected by the Battalion Commander with overall responsibility for the supervision, operations, and mission success of a platoon of 15 pilots and four C-12V aircraft.
In April of 2014 he was Battalion Safety Officer/Pilot-In-Command responsible for the Aviation Safety Program for over 220 soldiers and pilots operating eight UC-35 and 14 C-12V aircraft in five geographically dispersed locations throughout the United States.
From February 2015 to September 2015, Freeman was Detachment Safety Officer for extensive day/night, all-weather, flight experience with the primary responsibility of transporting the Army Central Command (ARCENT) Commanding General throughout the Middle East. He also managed the Safety Program and provided all safety-related training for deployed personnel.
All in all, he clocked a total of 12,249 hours of flight time.
As the Battalion Safety Officer for the 6-52d Theater Aviation Battalion, CW5 Freeman also facilitated a complete overhaul of the safety program, resulting in receiving a 100% in all safety functional areas during the FY17 FORSCOM Aviation Resource Management Survey (ARMS) inspection The program was recommended for receipt of a “Commendable” rating by the ARMS Teams’ safety inspector as the best safety program he had personally inspected in eight years as an ARMS inspector.
While serving in the USARC as the Aviation Safety subject matter expert (SME), CW5 Freeman expertly served on the Accident Investigations and Assessments Team. His knowledge and expertise in accident investigations led to his direct involvement in investigating multiple Class A, B and Class C aviation accidents. His expertise also extended to ground accidents. Freeman also took the lead in developing a continuing education program for USARC Aviation Safety Officers to become Career Program-12 qualified through joint partnership with the USAR and OSHA certification programs nationwide.
It goes without saying that CW5 Jeffery W. Freeman also received many awards and decorations as well. They include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (3 OLC), Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal (2), National Defense Service Ribbon (2), Armed Forces Reserves Medal, Army Superior Unit Award, Air Force Longevity Service Ribbon, Air Force Recognition Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Service and Expeditionary Medals, Korean Defense Service Ribbon, Air Force Training Ribbon, and Master Army Aviator Badge.
Last but not least, out of 138 eligible officers in the US Army Reserve, Freeman was one of five warrant officers to be selected for promotion to CW5 in the highly competitive FY2017 promotion board.
According to Freeman, “The biggest takeaway from military service is being a part of serving and working with the soldiers, the army, and the marines that support. I have always had a lot of pride in doing what I did and wearing the uniform for as long as I did. It’s not a cliche, but being out there and serving in the military, there is nothing I would have rather done with my life. I’m grateful for such a long career.”
He continued on to say, “Obviously you don’t get anywhere in the military without a very strong support system and sacrifice of my family; my wife and kids when I was away on TDI’s and trips. I wouldn’t have gotten very far without a strong home base. That my wife created a strong home base goes without saying. Making my mom proud was a huge drive too.”
Freeman’s wife, Donna, is from Lake Village, Arkansas. Together they have four children; Kailyn (29), Aubrey (23), Gabe (16), and Ivy (15). They are currently living in Lehi, Utah, as Freeman has been hired by Frontier Airlines to fly for them now that he is retired.