Johnny Adams' Story
I went into the Army on 20 February 1989 as a Cannon Fire Directional Specialist. After my Boot Camp and AIT I went to Jump School where they taught me how to jump out of perfectly good airplanes. I was then assigned to one of the best Divisions in the Army, The 82nd Airborne Division, Ft. Bragg, NC. I immediately got to help in the capture of Manuel Noriega from Panama. Shortly afterwards, I was deployed to Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
While I was away, my son Timothy (TJ) was born who I would not see until he was 7 1/2 months old. The Gulf War was really something I was proud to a part of because America had not supported the military the same way since WWII.
After returning from the Gulf War, it was either get out or re-enlist. Luckily for me, I had done a little singing in the Children's Home, so I auditioned for the 82nd All American Chorus and made it. I immediately signed up for another 2 years. I was, by far, nowhere near as good a singer as some of these guys that I was lucky enough to travel around the country and world to sing with. The highlight of that had to be jumping into France for the 50th Anniversary of D-Day and singing for, then, President Clinton, the Queen of England and the French President.
I was marching the chorus up Utah Beach on the way to do the show; the Commanding General of the 82nd Airborne stopped me and the whole formation, for him and his wife to wish me a happy birthday. I remember asking him how he knew I was born on June 6th and his reply was, “Son you don't get to be the Commander of the greatest unit in the Army without knowing a few things”. I proudly saluted him and screamed “Airborne Sir”!
After I completed my two years in the chorus, I had another decision to make. I chose to re-enlist again for another 4 years to go to wonderful Germany. Just in the nick of time too, as I arrived in March of 1995 and December 25 of that same year, I was watching my pregnant wife wave good bye as we were on a train headed to Bosnia. I would not return until my daughter McKenzie was 6 months old in November of 1996. After returning from Bosnia, I was at a regular 5 year physical when they noticed something with my right lung. They performed a cat scan and the next thing I knew I was in a plane flying back to have 37 metal springs in my lung to immobilize my right lung's AVM (arterial venous malformation). The Dr. that found it said it was a miracle I had made it that long for he said it was the biggest he had ever seen, and he did not even give me a choice to get it fixed. It was get it fixed or get out of the Army.
Everything went well and I was back running 4 miles a day within a month. At the end of 1997, I returned to Ft. Bragg and went back to being a paratrooper and field artilleryman. While on an exercise to California my youngest son Jesse was born. I actually got to see him within weeks of his birth. I can still remember the Chaplain’s words to me each time I had asked to go home to see even one of my kid’s births, and each time they told me, women have babies’ everyday son, you’re needed here.
Well, I did another couple of years there and in March of 2000 I would reenlist again to take an assignment in Mississippi as an Observer Controller/ Trainer. We were responsible for all the field artillery units in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Puerto Rico National Guards. That was a great job until September 11, 2001 happened. Did I mention that date was already important to me for it was the day TJ was born while I was in the Gulf War? Anyway, I guess the Lord was really looking out for me because that is when I became a Career Counselor in the Army and of all places they sent me to New York City. I spent 5 years there and became one of the best Counselors the 77th had.
After that, you guessed it, right back to the glorious 82nd Airborne down at Ft. Bragg. It would be a short 11 month stay for when I made E-8 /MSG it was on the condition I move to Ft. Drum, NY. About 5 hours north of the beautiful city I had grown to love. I would never leave Ft. Drum. I did 2 years there also becoming one of the most successful Counselors. I was chosen to go to the Pentagon to write Policy and be the Operations NCO for a World Wide Force. I did that for around a year then went to be an Area Leader, responsible for Southern Maryland, the entire Military District of Washington and Northern Virginia which is what I am retiring from now.
October 01, 2011 I enter the retired roll -- 22 years 7 months and 10 days. Not that I was counting, that is just what my orders say I did. I would have probably stayed in longer but they wanted to move me to Indiana. My wife makes almost as much as me now at the State Department so there was no way. Plus I had already promised my daughter she would not have to move schools again once in high school. She will be a Sophomore next year. I kept my promise. Now I have to find another job, hopefully with my wife at the State Department. Well that was my career in a nut shell. The Lord truly blessed me with some wonderful memories that I will cherish forever.