Veteran speaks about time in Army, church
HOLDENVILLE, Oklahoma — Muscogee (Creek) citizen Jess Freeman has resided in Holdenville for about eight years. He grew up about 14 miles east of Okmulgee in a small community called Eram.
From Eram, he moved to Tulsa. He said he was only 16-years-old when he went into the U.S. Army.
He remembers because he had to laksetv (lie) about his age to enlist.
“Everybody had to,” Freeman said.
While in the Army, Freeman went overseas to Korea. He remembers the long ship ride to there.
“There were about 800 of us,” he said.
Freeman was a member of the U.S. 7th Calvary (the same Calvary as George Custer).
“I did not know anything about the 7th Calvary,” he said. “When I was there, you did what you were told. When they told me that I was in the 7th Calvary, I was in the 7th Calvary.”
Freeman remembers the trip to Korea taking about 18 days. He said he was happy to be back on land when he arrived.
“We patrolled the DMZ (demilitarized zone), Nightmare (Range) and Bowling Alley Range,” he said. “That lasted a year.”
He said they were up in the mountains in frigid temperatures.
“We had to eat a lot of C-rations,” Freeman said. “If you didn’t take your C-rations and put them under your arms before you went to bed everything would freeze overnight. Even you.”
He called serving in Korea an experience.
“After a year of that, they sent us home,” Freeman said.
Freeman said the ship ride back home was better.
He said his total time in the U.S. Armed Forces was 21 years. He left the Army as an infantryman.
“After I left the 7th Calvary, I was out for a bit then I came back and went into the Air National Guard,” he said. “I retired as a tech sergeant.”
Nowadays, he loves spending time with his family and doing what the Lord wants him to do in the church. He said he looks forward to every Christmas because he gets to tell of Christ being born.
“It is a story I look forward to telling,” Freeman said. “I told my kids and now they are telling their kids. They still enjoy it but I think they look forward to hearing it from me.”
It was when he retired that he came to Holdenville.
“When we retired, we came down to work in the Indian Churches,” Freeman said. “We had several occasions to work in different churches.”
He and his wife currently work at a church in Holdenville.
He said for the past 25 years he and his wife Ruth have been teaching Sunday school for various churches.