Last Surviving WWII Veteran Portrayed in ‘Band of Brothers’ Dead at 97

by Samantha Whidden

Bradford Freeman, the last surviving member of the U.S. Army’s Easy Company which inspired Steven Spielberg’s WWII TV series “Band of Brothers” has reportedly passed away on Sunday (July 3rd) in Mississippi at the age of 97. 

The DailyMail reports that History Underground revealed the news about the “Band of Brothers” inspiration’s passing. “The passing of Mr. Freeman represents the closing of a chapter in a way. He was a part of a group of men whose story many of us knew well and cherished.”

The media outlet further stated that Freeman enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1942. He was assigned as a mortar man in Company E (aka East Company). The soldier jumped with Easy Company into Normandy, France on D-Day, June 6, 1944. He had an 18-pound mortar baseplate strapped to his chest while making the jump. 

Freeman has a French Legion of Honor for his service in liberating the country from German forces. This is France’s highest military honor. The soldier went on to fight in Operation Market Garden and was part of the defense of Bastogne at the Battle of the Bulge. 

However, Freeman was wounded during an attack on Noville when a German rocket exploded near him. The shrapnel from the explosion ended up embedding itself in his knee. It took him three months to recover from the injury. The fight in Noville was his last combat. He did eventually rejoin his unit and took part in the occupation of both Berchtesgaden and Austria. 

Following his military service, Freeman married his childhood sweetheart and raised two daughters. He later entered college using the GI Bill, going on to work in the postal service for 30 years.

Steven Spielberg is Teaming Up With Tom Hanks for ‘Band of Brothers’ Follow-Up on Apple TV+ 

In 2019, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks teamed up for a “Band of Brothers” follow-up series on Apple TV+. The series, “Masters of the Air.”

According to Deadline, the new series is written by “Band of Brothers” John Orloff and Graham Yost, who are also co-executive producing. IMDb reveals that the series will follow eleven men inside of a bomber known as the “Flying Fortress” as they fight for their lives against swarms of enemy German fighters. “As American bombers are picked off one by one, their mission becomes very clear: survive.”

Starring in the nine-episode series is Austin Butler, Barry Keoghan, Callum Turner, Ben Radcliffe, Anthony Boyle, and Rafferty Law. Butler will star as Major Gale Cleven, and Turner will star as Major John Egan. Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television and Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman’s Playtone will produce. Amblin Television’s Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey and Playtone’s Steven Shareshian serve as co-executive producers.