Adams, Thomas, MSG

Transportation Corps (Enlisted)
 
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Life Member
 
 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
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Current Service Status
USA Retired
Current/Last Rank
Master Sergeant
Current/Last Service Branch
Aviation
Current/Last Primary MOS
67Z-Aircraft Maintenance Senior Sergeant
Current/Last MOS Group
Transportation Corps (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1971-1972, 134th Aviation Company
Previously Held MOS
67R-Single-Engine Single-Rotor Helicopter Maintenance Chief
Service Years
1962 - 1985
Foreign Language(s)
Italian

Master Sergeant


Seven Service Stripes



Six Overseas Service Bars



 Ribbon Bar

Aviation Badge (Senior)
Rifle

 

 Official Badges 

US Army Retired (Pre-2007) Career Counselor Army Recruiter (Gold) - 3 stars 32nd Air & Missile Defense Cmd

1st Armored Division 3rd Corps


 Unofficial Badges 

Army Honorable Discharge (1984-Present)




 Additional Information
What are you doing now:
Truck/Freight Broker. Own office in Florida. Always looking for new business (shippers/manufacturers).
   
Other Comments:
Not Specified
   
 Countries Deployed To or Visited

 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1962, Basic Training (Fort Knox, KY), E/1
 Unit Assignments
134th Aviation Company
  1971-1971, 67R, 134th Aviation Company
  1971-1972, 134th Aviation Company
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1965-1966 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Campaign (1965-66)
  1971-1971 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase VII Campaign (1970-71)

 Photo Album   (More...


Reflections on MSG Adams's US Army Service
 
 Reflections On My Service
 
PLEASE DESCRIBE WHO OR WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR DECISION TO JOIN THE ARMY?
When I was young lad of 6 years old, I used to watch the military convoys that were always on the highways. I would be absolutely ecstatic when they would wave at me. I would look at my mom and dad and tell them, "That's me when I grow up, I am joining the Army." I loved all branches of the military. I was raised in Chicago and in those days, there were always military folks, especially sailors walking up and down State Street by the Penny Arcades. I told everyone that would listen about my desire to be a soldier. I wanted to be a warrior just like Tab Hunter, who starred in the movie Battle Cry. I wonder if anybody remembers him. The rest is history. I served 23 years with 2 tours in Vietnam. I had finally become a "Warrior".
WHETHER YOU WERE IN THE SERVICE FOR SEVERAL YEARS OR AS A CAREER, PLEASE DESCRIBE THE DIRECTION OR PATH YOU TOOK. WHAT WAS YOUR REASON FOR LEAVING?
My wife and family called me a "professional student" as I was always trying to get into any new school that came along. I was one of the first enlisted men to be chosen to go to Army Aviation School at Fort Rucker, Alabama when Army Aviation was hitting the big time. I felt very fortunate because I loved airplanes and helicopters. My entire career was Army Aviation with two exceptions. I spent four years in the US Army Recruiting Command as a Recruiter and later as an Organizational Effectiveness Consultant for USAREC at Fort Sheridan. Prior to that, I did a short stint (3 years) in the Air Defense Command in Italy. After leaving USAREC, I came back to Army Aviation and retired in 1985 at Fort Hood, Texas.
IF YOU PARTICIPATED IN ANY MILITARY OPERATIONS, INCLUDING COMBAT, HUMANITARIAN AND PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS, PLEASE DESCRIBE THOSE WHICH WERE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT TO YOU AND, IF LIFE-CHANGING, IN WHAT WAY.
Yes. At the ripe old age of nineteen, I spent my first tour in Vietnam (1965-66) as a helicopter Crew Chief/Door Gunner with I Corp Aviation, which later became the 282nd Combat Assault Helicopter Company, AKA "Black Cats" and "Alley Cats". We were the true "young guns" in that most of the Crew Chiefs were in their late teens and early twenties and so were many of the Helicopter Pilots, in particularly the Warrant Officers. Early on, our combat activities were limited to mostly call as needed or some sort of extraction for Special Forces. In early 1966, the crap hit the proverbial fan when we got mortared and lost several aircraft. From then on, things escalated on a daily basis. This may sound crazy, but those were some very exciting times. We couldn't wait to get in the air and look for "Charlie". Finally, I had become a warrior. I returned to Vietnam in 1971 and was the maintenance NCOIC for the 134th Assault Helicopter Company in Tuy Hoa, Vietnam. We were known as the "Demons and Devils" and that, we were!
FROM YOUR ENTIRE SERVICE, INCLUDING COMBAT, DESCRIBE THE PERSONAL MEMORIES WHICH HAVE IMPACTED YOU MOST?
My marriage to my wonderful wife of 47 years in 1964 and of course, our 3 great kids that were born during the time is my best memory. My eldest daughter was 2 weeks old when I left for Nam. But the one event that stands out to this very day was my father's death. When I had been in Vietnam for two months in 1965, my father died of a massive heart attack at age 52. I knew how hard he would take it knowing I was in Vietnam so I lied to him and mom and told them I was in Okinawa. Since we had APO addresses I figured they wouldn't know the difference and it would spare them a lot of worrying. That was so wrong of me and it still haunts me today. Because what I was afraid would happen, happened anyway. My dad's heart gave out. I still have the last letter he wrote to my wife. He never got the chance to meet her face to face nor did he get to see his first granddaughter. He told her he knew in his heart that I was in Vietnam and for her to please tell him the truth and that in the meantime, he was praying for my safety. He never heard the truth. My dad was and will always be my hero. Not for his deeds of bravery, but for being the man of great character I always held in the highest esteem. I loved him so much and I miss him dearly even today.
WHICH INDIVIDUAL(S) FROM YOUR TIME IN THE MILITARY STAND OUT AS HAVING THE MOST POSITIVE IMPACT ON YOU AND WHY?
I had many wonderful friends and mentors (officer and enlisted) over the years and still stay in touch with many of them. But First Sergeant Robert C Beck of the 501st Aviation Battalion at Fort Stewart, Georgia back in the early 1970's was the individual that took me under his wing as a young Staff Sergeant (E-6) and taught me what it meant to be a Leader and a Professional Non Commissioned Officer. To me, he was the epitome of the US Army NCO Corp in terms of leadership, knowledge, fairness, compassion and just downright ability. He never compromised his values, personal nor professional. Everyone, Officer and Enlisted, in the unit looked up to First Sergeant Beck and had the utmost respect for him. I told him that if I was ever able to be half the NCO he was I would have a successful career. I know I had a wonderful career and won many accolades along the way so I guess maybe I was "half as good as he was". Rest in peace my friend.
CAN YOU RECOUNT A PARTICULAR INCIDENT FROM YOUR SERVICE WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE BEEN FUNNY AT THE TIME, BUT STILL MAKES YOU LAUGH?
We were stationed at Fort Stuart and had a Sergeant First Class Jackson who was deathly afraid of snakes. Inside our hangar, we had mesh cages where everyone's desks were. While Sergeant First Class Jackson went to lunch one day, we found a dead snake outside the hangar. We decided to put it in his office chair. When he returned from lunch and pulled out his chair, he almost tore down the walls trying to get out of his office! We all died laughing. Once things settled down, he told us that he was going to get each and every one of us back!
WHAT PROFESSION DID YOU FOLLOW AFTER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW? IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY SERVING, WHAT IS YOUR PRESENT OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTY?
Having always been on the move in the Army, I felt like I needed to be very mobile in civilian life as well. So I decided that driving big rigs (18 wheelers) might just be my thing. After going to driving school, I went on the road driving for one of the top, if not the top, trucking companies in the USA. And yes I was very mobile, too mobile in fact. At the same time, my wife was working as a book keeper for a truck brokerage company (they find the trucks for shippers, and loads for the trucks) in Fort Smith Arkansas, which is her hometown. At one of their office Christmas parties, I met the owner of the company. The next day he called my wife and asked her if I would like to come to work for him as an office manager. Long story short, I worked for him for about a year or so and then hooked up with a company opening my own office. That was nineteen years ago and I am still at it today. I love what I do and have many good friends nationwide as a result. I think I will continue on as long as my health permits me to do so. So far so good!
IN WHAT WAYS HAS SERVING IN THE MILITARY INFLUENCED THE WAY YOU HAVE APPROACHED YOUR LIFE AND YOUR CAREER? WHAT DO YOU MISS MOST ABOUT YOUR TIME IN THE SERVICE?
I don't know where to begin. The military way of life is as unique as it is rewarding. Certainly it was the cornerstone of my entire life. Everyone kids me about "still being military" because of the discipline and structure that I apply to my daily life. My wife always chides me and asks if everything is up to par for my inspection. [Chuckling] I am not that bad, but the skills, discipline, training, leadership and all that goes with it has allowed me to appreciate the true opportunities given me as a soldier and prepared me for a very successful civilian career as well. Being an old Recruiter, I still try to show young people the opportunities available to them and the privilege of serving their country. My latest recruit was my grandson who just returned from Afghanistan not too long ago.
BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE WHO HAVE RECENTLY JOINED THE ARMY?
I would encourage them to find a Senior NCO or Officer that they can respect and try to have them to mentor them. As a young Staff Sergeant, I had one of the finest NCO's who was compassionate and understood more than most. I modeled my career after his. You want to find someone whom you can respect as a leader and someone who you would be willing to follow into combat without a question.
IN WHAT WAYS HAS TOGETHERWESERVED.COM HELPED YOU REMEMBER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND THE FRIENDS YOU SERVED WITH.
It's the greatest tool available for those who served. The opportunity to contact old friends is priceless. The ability to stay informed and connected to the military and maintaining the familiarity and bond with my brothers in arms provides me a resource that is unavailable anywhere else. Those of you that maintain this website deserve our gratitude and a "well done" from all of us. May God bless our military and their families and may God Bless America...always.

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