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Louisa County’s Freeman Field namesake honored

Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Admiral DeWitt “Witt” Freeman

DeWitt “Witt” Freeman will long be remembered as an excellent ambassador for small general aviation airports, said former Louisa County Airport manager Dawn Howard.

Rear Admiral DeWitt Freeman, who was instrumental in creating the county’s airport, passed away on November 7.

On December 17, the Louisa County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution honoring Freeman’s contribution to aviation and the county.

Freeman served as the chairman of the airport committee for four years and led the successful effort to build the airport, which was dedicated in May 1984 as Freeman Field and opened in May 1987.

He continued to work at the airport, free of charge, after it opened.

“He loved that airport. It was his passion in life,” Howard said. “It was everything to him.”

Howard worked with Freeman for more than 20 years and described him as a kind, generous person and a good steward of local, state and federal tax dollars.

To read the entire story, see the Dec. 27 edition of The Central Virginian.

“He had a policy,” Howard said. “If we didn’t need the grants, we wouldn’t accept them.”

She recalled a specific grant that was available for a terminal expansion study.

“The Admiral said we didn’t need the space, so he wouldn’t take the money,” Howard said. “That’s how he was.”

Freeman’s journey in aviation began when he joined the U.S. Navy in 1943 and entered the flight training program.

He earned his wings in 1944, two weeks after his 20th birthday.

According to the Virginia Aeronautical Historical Society,   where Freeman was inducted in 2003 as a hall of fame member, Freeman flew the FM-2 until the end of WWII and then transitioned into the F-6F and F-8F.   His first jet assignment was in the P-80 at Edwards AFB where he became the first Navy pilot to remotely control the Regulus missile.

After WWII, he was offered a commission and attended several colleges before receiving a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering.

Freeman commanded the  F-4B Phantom equipped squadron VF-41, which was one of the first units to deploy in response to the Russians’ stationing nuclear-armed medium range ballistic missiles in Cuba.

In the 1960s, he commanded a F-4 Phantom squadron on the USS Independence, a F-4 Training Squadron in the Atlantic Fleet at Key West, Fla. and the Fleet Order of the USS Truckee.

To read the entire story, see the Dec. 27 edition of The Central Virginian.