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Richard Henry Free
Major General, United States Army
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From a contemporary press reports:

Richard Henry Free, 87, a retired Major General of the Army Corps of Engineers who helped oversee completion of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel between Norfolk and the lower Eastern Shore, died of cancer July 15, 2001 at Mount Vernon Nursing Center.

General Free, who served for 32 years and retired in 1972, was the Virginia district engineer for the corps in the 1960s, during the bridge and tunnel construction. He moved to The Fairfax at Fort Belvoir in 1989.

General Free was a native of Davenport, Iowa. He attended George Washington University and was a 1940 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. He received a master's degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University.

He commanded a combat battalion in Europe during World War II.

He was an intelligence officer in the late 1940s based in Washington and was commander of the special weapons group in New Mexico into the 1950s.

He served as commander of a combat battalion in Korea during the Korean War. He later served as a staff officer in Europe in the 1950s. He served at various commands in Washington, Norfolk and Dallas before retiring in 1972 as division engineer of a corps division based in Atlanta.

His decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, a Silver Star, two Legions of Merit, a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.

After he retired from the Army, he was a vice president of Georgia Power Co.

His wife of 48 years, Margaret E. Hatke, died in 1988.

Survivors include two sons, Kendall R. Free of Silver Spring and Noel K. Free of Terrace Park, Ohio; three daughters, Beth Free Heberlein of Northville, Mich., Susan Free Wermers of Norfolk and Holly Free Mobley of Atlanta; and eight grandchildren.



Major General Richard H. Free, 87, completed his duty to God and his Country on July 15, 2001, at Norfolk, Virginia. After graduating from U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1940, Free began his distinguished career. He commanded a combat battalion in Europe in World War II and in Korea during the Korean War.

He was an intelligence officer to the Secretary of Defense for Atomic Energy and received his Master's Degree from Cornell University. He was commander of the Special Weapons Group in New Mexico. He served three years at the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Powers, Europe (SHAPE) in Paris, France where he was Executive Officer to General Lauris Norstad, Supreme Allied Commander.

In 1962 he became District Engineer of the Norfolk District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In 1964 he was tapped as an Honorary Citizen of the City of Norfolk and was given a key to the city. While Free was in office, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel was completed, and the Seawall at Waterside in Norfolk was initiated. He was promoted to Brigadier General when he was appointed as Division Engineer of the Corps' Southwestern Division, Dallas, Texas. He retired in 1972 as a Major General from the position of Division Engineer of the South Atlantic Division based in Atlanta, Georgia.

His decorations included the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star Medal, Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, Belgian Order of Crown with Palm, Croix de Guerre with Palm, War Cross of Czechoslovakia, and Medal of the Pacificator, Brazil.

General Free was married to the late Margaret E. Hatke of Richmond. They are survived by their five children, Kendall R. Free of Silver Spring, Maryland, Beth Free Heberlein of Northville, Michigan, Noel K. Free of Terrace Park, Ohio, Susan Free Wermers of Norfolk and Holly Free Mobley of Atlanta, Georgia. There are eight grandchildren.

A service with full military honors will take place at Fort Myer Chapel and Arlington National Cemetery at 9 a.m. Monday, July 30.



FREE, RICHARD H., MAJ. GEN. USA (Ret.)

On Sunday, July 15, 2001 of The Fairfax, Lorton, VA. Husband of the late Margaret Hatke Free; father of Kendall R. Free, Silver Spring, MD, Beth Free Heberlein of Northville, MI, Noel K. Free of Terrace Park, OH, Susan Free Wermers of Norfolk, VA and Holly Free Mobley of Atlanta, GA. Also surviving are eight grandchildren. Services will be held 9 a.m., Monday, July 30 at Fort Myer Chapel. Interment Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.



FREE, RICHARD H
MAJ GEN   US ARMY
DATE OF BIRTH: 01/08/1914
DATE OF DEATH: 07/15/2001
BURIED AT: SECTION 11  SITE 496-2
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

FREE, MARGARET H
DATE OF BIRTH: 10/17/1913
DATE OF DEATH: 11/24/1988
BURIED AT: SECTION 11  SITE 496-2
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
  WIFE OF FREE, RICHARD H, MAJ GEN US ARMY


Posted: 6 August 2001 Updated: 5 March 2003 Updated: 26 November 2005
US Military Academy (West Point) SEAL
 

Distinguished Service Medal
 

Silver Star Medal
 

Legion of Merit - 2 Awards
 
 

Bronze Star Medal
 
 

Purple Heart Medal