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T.C. Freeman – ‘Mother of Fort Campbell’ – died May 19

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Clarissa “T.C.” Freeman, known as the “Mother of Fort Campbell” for her devotion to soldiers and their families, died after a long illness May 19 at the Jennie Stuart Medical Center, Hopkinsville, Kentucky. She was 83.

Appointed a civilian aide to the secretary of the Army for Central Kentucky in 2008, her service to the Army and to the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) and its Tennessee – Kentucky Chapter are legendary.

Retired Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, AUSA president and CEO, said of her passing, “T.C. Freeman will always be remembered as a staunch supporter of and strong advocate for our Army.

“She gave unselfishly of her time, energies and many talents to ensure our men and women who serve – often in harm’s way – and their families are recognized and appreciated for their service to America.

“Her love for the ‘Army Family’ was her trademark, and she always put soldiers and their families first. She made a difference.

“T.C. was a giant.”

An AUSA life member, Freeman began her relationship with the Association as an Army wife at Fort Hood, Texas, while her husband, now-retired Col. Bobby Freeman, was deployed to Vietnam as an aviator.

When he came back from the war, she was disappointed with the reception he and other returning soldiers received, and she vowed to do something about it – and she did.

Moving to Hopkinsville, and her husband’s assignment to Fort Campbell, Freeman continued her life-long mission of supporting soldiers and families.

She served two terms as president of AUSA’s Tennessee – Kentucky Chapter, Kentucky state president, president of the Association’s Second Region and four years on the AUSA Council of Trustees.

She was well known for her efforts in welcoming home soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Mobile) back to Fort Campbell from the Persian Gulf.

She received the AUSA Citation for Exceptional Service for her recognition of soldiers returning from Operation Desert Storm and Operation Desert Shield.      

In 2010, she and her husband were among the first honored and named “Champions of Fort Campbell.”

At the Association’s 2002 Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, Freeman was awarded the Association’s Anthony J. Drexel Biddle Medal “for exceptional service to the Army and the Association.”

The citation read, in part: “[Mrs. Freeman] instilled new energy at Fort Campbell, Ky., and the surrounding civilian communities to support soldiers and their families – especially during times of troop deployments.”

“Her leadership, sound judgement and guidance on issues affecting the Army are invaluable,” an Association official said at the time.