Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Walter Freeman Jr. dies of injuries from I.E.D.

Three days before he died, 20-year-old Pfc Walter Freeman Jr sent a simple online message to the woman he considered his mother:

“Mom, pray hard.”

Stationed in Iraq with Fort Carson’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Freeman knew things were about to get hairy.

“I can’t even imagine not talking to him anymore, not seeing him,” said Loretta Horns, who calls herself Freeman’s surrogate mom. “He’s just such a part of my life.”

Freeman was one of two Fort Carson soldiers killed Wednesday in Baghdad when an explosive
detonated near their vehicle.

Freeman, who lived in Lancaster, Calif., joined the Army about a year after graduat- ing from Antelope Valley High School in 2004. He met Horns through her two sons who went to the same school.

Freeman played the snare drum in the school band and was co-captain his senior year.

“We were a very close-knit band family,” Loretta Horns said.

Freeman had a rocky relationship with his biological mother, so Horns became his mom “in heart and love,” she said.

Freeman had been looking forward to visiting Horns during a two-week leave later this month. He told Horns he wanted her to make him a home-cooked meal, but she told him they should eat at a local barbecue joint.

They were counting the days.

“I’ll bring the popcorn, you get the butter ready,” Freeman joked.

From the Gazette