James Cleo Freed was the third son of Harvey Glenn Freed and Ethel Mae Hixon and was married to Mary M. Reynolds of Salem in 1939, they had three children, two daughters and one son. He was killed in Germany, in the very last days of World War II. He received the Purple Heart for his sacrifice to protect his family and country.
James C. Freed's Army Division the 76th action during the last months of his life. COMBAT HIGHLIGHTS: Advance of more than 400 miles against hostile resistance in 110 days of combat, capture of more than 33,000 prisoners and the crossing of 20 rivers mark the battle record of the 76th Inf Div. The Onaways went into action early in Feb 1945 along the Sauer River near the Luxembourg-Germany border and prepared for an assault upon Nazi defenses which were part of the Siegfried Line. Men of the 417th Inf Reg stormed across the Sauer River at Echternach, Luxembourg, on 6 Feb 1945, along with units of other divisions that were making the assault. By the second day after the river crossing enemy pill-boxes and strong points began falling rapidly. The 76th then went on to attack north of the Sauer and west of the Prum Rivers, battering through line after line of west wall forts. Irrel fell and in less than two weeks of fighting the Onaways held secure positions on the high ground between the Sauer and Prum Rivers, knocking out more than 110 pillboxes and fortified positions in the process. The division next outflanked the Welschbillig-Eisenach line, and again hit the Siegfried Line, smashing it down its length to open a pathway to the Moselle River at Trier. The Prum and Nims Rivers had been crossed and a large pocket of Nazi resistance liquidated. Early in March the division went across the Kyll River, making the crossing near Preist. It quickly took the strategic towns of Speicher and Orenhoffen. The bridgehead across the Kyll was rapidly expanded and the 76th pushed forward to the northwest bank of the Moselle River between Schweich and Reil. On 16 March the division was at its job of river crossing again, this time spanning the Moselle at two places to secure a protect bridging operations undertaken by the XII Corps at Mulheim. On 27 March the division began its crossing of the Rhine at Boppard and St Goar. Early in April the 76th was committed to a new offensive initiated when a drive was started across the Fulda River. The Onaways drove on fast to the Werra River where they were teamed up with the 6th Armored Division to form the spearhead of the Third Army?s plunge across Germany toward Czechoslovakia. The Werra River was crossed and the 76th blitzed its way during April across the German provinces of Thirungia and Saxony to within 50 miles of the Czech border, halting at the Mulde River as well as the Schopau River. The division was holding in this area when the war in Europe ended, and the division was subsequently inactivated overseas. Source: These fact sheets are from The Information Section, Analysis Branch, Hq Army Ground Forces, Washington 25 DC, 1 Mar 1947, as found in the records of the National Archives and Records Administration, RG 407, Archives II, College Park MD.
FREED, JAMES CLEO Synopsis: The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Purple Heart to James Cleo Freed, Private First Class, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with the 385th Infantry Regiment, 76th Infantry Division, in action against enemy forces on 10 April 1945. PFC Freed's intrepid actions, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty at the cost of his life, exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 76th Infantry Division, and the United States Army. Headquarters, First U.S. Army, General Orders No. 75 (1945)