Merle Freitag was born in Avon, South Dakota on June 8, 1940. Upon completion of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps curriculum and the educational course of study at South Dakota State University in 1962, he was commissioned a second lieutenant and awarded the Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics. He subsequently attended Tulane University and received a Master of Business Administration Degree with specialty in Operations Research/Systems Analysis. His military education includes Transportation Officers Basic and Advanced Courses, Command and General Staff College and the U.S. Army War College.
LG Freitag has held a wide variety of command and staff assignments culminating in his current assignment as the Assistant Director, Defense Research and Engineering (Test and Evaluation), Office of the Secretary of Defense. Other key assignments included Director of Resources and Management Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, United States Army, Washington, D.C.; Commander, Division Support Command,101st Airborne Division(Air Assault), Ft Campbell, Kentucky; and Chief, Acquisition Support Programs Analysis Division and Program Analysis and Evaluation Directorate, Office, Chief of Staff, United States Army. General Freitag served in a variety of other career building assignments prior to his most recent duties. He was Chief, Command and Leadership Branch for the Army Transportation School, Fort Eustis, Virginia. Reassigned to Korea, he commanded the 45th Transportation Company Aircraft Maintenance. Returning to the United States he was assigned as the Executive Officer of the Division Support Command and subsequently commanded the 5th Transportation Battalion both in the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Awards and decorations that General Freitag has received include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart and the Meritorious Service Medal (with two oak leaf clusters). He is also the recipient of the Air Medal (with " V" device and twenty oak leaf clusters) and the Army Commendation Medal. General Freitag is authorized to wear the Master Aviator Badge and the Air Assault Badge.