"Bastogne" autographed sign
Sign #2 in our new "Sites of Valor" series is here!
Each aluminum Bastogne sign is hand-embellished by master craftsmen to include dents, scratches, and chips. Topping it off, each has been hand-signed by two veterans who defended Bastogne: 101st Airborne heroes Brad Freeman (Band of Brothers) and Bert Winzer (G/501st)!
Whether you display yours under your favorite print, or as a backdrop for scale models, this sign is destined to become the ultimate item for any Man Cave. With a limited number worldwide, now is the time to place your order before they're history.
Shipping added in checkout // size: 19.75" x 7" // ships sleeved & boxed
LESS THAN HALF REMAIN!
500 limited-edition signs, numbered on the reverse side, signed in black fade-resistant marker by veterans who defended Bastogne:
400 available signed by Brad Freeman (E/506 PIR) and Bert Winzer (G/501 PIR).
100 available signed by Brad Freeman (E/506 PIR), Bert Winzer (G/501 PIR), Ed Cottrell (48 FG) and Floyd Blair (404 FG) - SOLD OUT
Each sign includes a seal of authenticity on the reverse side. Extra items shown in display images not included.
An Open Edition, bearing no autographs may be released by Valor Studios. A Signer Proof edition of 10 signs exists for project helpers.
BRAD FREEMAN (1925 - 2022)
Bradford Freeman was born and raised in the lush Mississippi farmlands near Columbus. He joined the paratroopers, following in the footsteps of his older brother, who was an officer in the 11th Airborne. Brad was assigned to the 506th PIR., 101st Airborne at Alderbourne, England in February 1944. There, he trained under the watchful eye of mortar squad leader Don Malarkey and platoon leader Bill Guarnere, both of whom he describes as great fighting men.
On D-Day, Brad parachuted into Normandy as part of Lt. Buck Compton’s Stick 70, forming up and fighting with Sgt. Chuck Grant until they joined the company near Brecourt Manor. He vividly remembers the fierce fighting at Carentan, where he feels E-Company came together as a combat unit.
Brad participated in the invasion of Holland, and recalls endless patrols and night outpost duty on the banks of the Rhine. Following Market Garden, he survived the brutal weather and constant shelling in the Bois Jacques woods at Bastogne only to be wounded by a “screaming mimi” (Nebelwerfer rocket) in Easy Company’s attack on Noville. Following release from a hospital in England, Brad joined up with HQ Staff in Berchtesgaden and later with his E-Company comrades in Kaprun, Austria.
After the war, Brad went back to Mississippi State University for a semester, and then returned to help run a 197 acre family farm in Lowndes County. He later worked with the US Postal Service, retiring after 32 years of service. Prior to his death in 2022, Brad was the last-living Band of Brothers paratrooper.
BERTRAM WINZER (1922 - 2023)
Bert entered the Army in 1942 and volunteered to join America's (and Canada's) most elite group of para-commandos, the First Special Service Force – or simply “The Force”– the same unit depicted in the 1968 movie “The Devil's Brigade.”
In July 1943, Bert left with The Force for Alaska where he participated in the landings at Kiska. Following the Aleutians campaign, Bert and The Force deployed to the Italian campaign and subsequently fought in the battles for Naples-Foggia, Anzio, and Rome.
At Anzio, Bert often went behind enemy lines on “reconnaissance” patrols meant to terrorize the enemy that earned the The Force the nickname, “the black devils.” Following the Italian campaign, Bert and The Force fought in the invasion of southern France and in the Franco-Italian border area where he was wounded by shrapnel.
On December 5th, The Force was disbanded and the Army found a new home for some of those jump qualified and battle-hardened veterans: the 101st Airborne. Bert was transferred into the 501st Regiment in time to assist them in the defense of Bastogne where Bert fought on the line as a rifleman in G-Company.
In 2015, Bert was honored at the national capital when the First Special Service Force received the Congressional Gold Medal. He remains the only living veteran of the 101st Airborne who can wear both the Screaming Eagle patch and the distinctive red arrowhead patch of the elite First Special Service Force.
A graduate of Georgia Tech, Floyd Blair’s ROTC path led him to the cockpit of a P-47 in the 404th Fighter Group’s 507th Fighter Squadron. On D-Day, Floyd and the group flew top cover over the beaches. In the days to follow, they repositioned to A-5 airfield at Chippelle, in Normandy, so they could better support the Allied breakout at St. Lo and beyond. Floyd remembers often being in radio contact with forward air controllers riding in Shermans below.
That August and September, Floyd flew his P-47 “Ramblin Wreck,” in support of the 3rd Armored Division (Spearhead) as they battled through France and into Belgium, and his squadron even helped destroy elements of the 1st SS Panzer Division.
During the Battle of the Bulge, the 404th was based at St. Trond, where they flew close air support missions throughout the Ardennes, including in the Bastogne area just 13 minutes away.
Following the Bulge, Floyd flew ground attack missions to relieve pressure on the bridgehead at Remagen, and later covered additional Rhine crossings. He flew his last combat mission, number 100, in April 1945, and would be awarded the Air Medal with 15 Oak Leaf Clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross, and a Distinguished Unit Citation.
Ed Cottrell volunteered for the Air Corps as he was already a private pilot. He was assigned to the 48th Fighter Group’s 493rd Fighter Squadron, operating P-47s out of Cambria airfield in France during the summer 1944. There he went to work flying low-level strafing and dive-bombing attacks in support of the US Army’s drive through France and Belgium.
His most memorable mission took place on December 17th when he was striking German tanks joining the newly launched Ardennes offensive (Battle of the Bulge). Ed’s flight was jumped by 20 Me 109s that quickly shot down several of the P-47s. Ed’s plane was hit and oil flowed over his canopy, reducing his visibility to nil. Limping home at low level, he was shocked to be intercepted by two 109s that flew alongside him, inspected him, but didn’t shoot. They departed and he made it back to his airfield at St. Trond, Belgium, only to learn that his good luck that day was not shared - his roommate and buddy Art Summers had been in one of the P-47s shot down that day.
After that memorable day, Ed continued to fly close air support missions throughout the Ardennes region, including around Bastogne. He would return to St. Trond many times with flak holes in his P-47. He flew throughout the winter and spring of 1945 with his last mission, number 65, taking place in May, where his squadron was flying from a captured German airfield in Nuremberg. Following VE-Day, Ed returned home and was discharged. In the post-war years, he rejoined the Air Force and retired after 28 years of service.