by Maj. Karla S. Owen
10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) Public Affairs Office
A 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) officer is the active-duty recipient of the
Army’s 2009 John R. Teal Leadership Award.
Maj. Lee Freeman accepted the award July 24 from Lt. Gen. Eric B. Schoomaker, Army surgeon general, at the annual Association of the United States Army Symposium in San Antonio.
The Army Medical Command established the award following the first combat loss of a medical officer supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Capt. John R. Teal Jr. was killed in action Oct. 23, 2003, in Baqubah, Iraq, while deployed as a brigade medical planner with the 4th Infantry Division.
The award is presented annually to one active-duty Army Medical Service Corps Health Services officer and one noncommissioned officer. Soldiers must have demonstrated the characteristics of Teal’s leadership, professionalism and operations qualities.
The 10th SFG (A) surgeon recommended Freeman for the award to recognize his outstanding performance among Special Forces and the Army Medical Department, he said.
Freeman recently returned from his sixth tour in support of OIF, where he was the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force – Arabian Peninsula officer in charge of a 16-person joint surgeon section.
Freeman said he appreciated that his medical section was part of his award recognition.
“I have been fortunate to work with the best group of officers, NCOs and Soldiers I have ever served with in my career,” he said. “It is a team that is focused solely on providing the best care.”
Like Teal, Freeman was a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute. Teal graduated two years before Freeman, in 1994.
The connection to the award did not go unnoticed by Freeman, who said it was humbling to be recognized with an award named for an officer he had known in college and who had given his life for his country.
Freeman served as the Medical Operations Officer for 10th SFG (A) for three years. His next assignment will be enrollment in the master’s program at the Defense Intelligence Agency’s National Defense Intelligence College. His previous awards include the Bronze Star Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal.