James Shepherd Freeman

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James Shepherd Freeman, Sr.
Born (1900-04-30)April 30, 1900
Jasper, Alabama
Died August 7, 1962(1962-08-07) (aged 62)
Bethesda, Maryland
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch Seal of the United States Department of the Navy.svg United States Navy
Years of service 1921-1951
Rank US-O8 insignia.svg Rear Admiral
Commands held USS Alchiba
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Navy Cross

James Shepherd Freeman (1900 – 1962) was a World War II Admiral in the United States Navy and the son of Alabama millionaire James Stanley Freeman.

Early life[edit]

Freeman was born on April 30, 1900 in Jasper, Alabama. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1921 before entering a career in the Navy.


His assignments prior to World War II included serving as chief executive officer of the US Naval Base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

While commander of the USS Alchiba, he was assigned to bring supplies and ammunition to Marines stationed in Guadalcanal. On November 28, 1942, his ship was torpedoed by two Japanese midget submarines. Freeman ordered the Alchiba's engines turned to full throttle and ran the ship ashore, saving the lives of the crew and ensuring that the much-needed ammunition was not lost. Freeman received the Navy Cross for his actions.

The Admiral is also featured in the self-described "UFO disclosure" documentary Fastwalkers: They Are Here as the commander of a naval ship whose crew reported sitings of extraterrestrial activity at sea. In the film, Freeman is reported to have had photographs of UFOs that were supposed to be shown to other naval officers. It is unclear whether such photos existed or were ever made public.

Personal life[edit]

He was married to Dorothea Steinmann Freeman.. He is often referred to as "James Freeman, Sr." to distinguish him from his son, a prominent corporate and political figure of the 1960s and 1970s, also named Jim.

Notable in his own right, his son James Shepherd Freeman, Jr. born 1926 in San Diego, California, spent his childhood in Hawaii while his father was commanding at Pearl Harbor. As a teenager he was linked romantically to actress Shirley Temple. He too entered the Naval Academy, but was later released on a medical discharge. He graduated in 1948 from Auburn University in Alabama. That same year, Freeman married Betty Jeane Pierce, a great grandniece of former President Franklin Pierce and daughter of newspaper publisher Edgar H. Pierce. After retiring as a senior Union Carbide executive in 1979, he declined an invitation by then-presidential candidate Ronald Reagan to serve as Secretary of Labor for Reagan's first presidential term. He had five children and ten grandchildren. Freeman Jr. died in 1997 in Jasper.


Freeman Snr. died on August 7, 1962 at the Bethesda Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. His wife survived him.

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