James Francis Adamouski – Captain, United States Army

Courtesy of the United States Military Academy

24 April 2003:

Meighan Adamouski, wife of Army Captain James Adamouski, is escorted behind the coffin at the funeral service for Adamouski at Arlington National Cemetery, April 24, 2003. Adamouski, 29, from Springfield, Virginia, was killed when his Black Hawk helicopter crashed in central Iraq

The coffin containing Army Captain James Adamouski is carried to its burial siteat Arlington National Cemetery April 24, 2003.

Soldiers lift the U.S. flag from the coffin of Army Captain James Adamouski during his funeral, at Arlington National Cemetery, April 24, 2003.

Meigan Adamouski, wife of Army Capt. James Adamouski, during a graveside interment ceremony for her husband at Arlington National Cemetery Thursday, April 24, 2003

Meighan Adamouski, wife of Army Captain James Adamouski, receives a folded flag from Lieutenant General Richard Cody, during a funeral service for Adamouski at Arlington National Cemetery, April 24, 2003.

Meighan Adamouski, wife of Army Captain James Adamouski, receives a folded flag from Lieutenant General Richard Cody, during a funeral service for Adamouski at Arlington National Cemetery, April 24, 2003.

27 April 2003:

Another member of the crew, Chief Warrant Officer Eric A. Smith, is to be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on 12 May 2003.

22 April 2003:

James Francis Adamouski died on Wednesday, April 2, 2003 in Iraq. He was the loving husband of Meighan Adamouski; beloved son of Frank and Judy Adamouski; beloved brother of Laura Griffith, Karen Marion, and Jaclyn Adamouski.

The family will receive friends on Wednesday, April 23, 2003, from 6 to 10 p.m. at Church of the Nativity, 6400 Nativity Lane, Burke, VA 22015, with a Knights of Columbus overnight vigil and where a Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Thursday, April 24 at 12:30 p.m.

A Service of Remembrance will be held at the Fort Myer Memorial Chapel at 3:30 p.m. with interment to follow with Full Honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made in the name of Capt. James Adamouski to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, 2104 Laburnum Ave., Richmond, Virginia 23227.

Thursday, April 10, 2003
Harvard-Bound Soldier in Iraq Dies in Helicopter Crash

 Army Captain James F. “Jimmy” Adamouski, who planned to enter Harvard Business School (HBS) this fall, was killed in a helicopter crash in Iraq last Wednesday, 2 April 2003. He was 29.

Adamouski, who was the first West Point graduate to die in Iraq, was killed along with five other soldiers when the Black Hawk helicopter he was piloting crashed in central Iraq, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Because of his HBS acceptance, Adamouski—an officer of the Third Aviation Regiment of the Third Infantry Division—had not been required to fly his final mission, his family said.

“In his 29 years, he probably did more than most people do in a lifetime,” James Adamouski’s father, retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Frank Adamouski, said. “Jimmy made such a difference in his life and his future was looking so great with the opportunity to attend Harvard. There is no limit to the contributions he could have made to the future of this country.”

He said his son—who planned to teach at West Point after receiving his MBA—set high standards that were the cornerstone upon which he lived his life.

“As he touched people, people sensed that he himself had a high standard,” Frank Adamouski said. “I was asked how the army has changed my son. Well, my son was changing the army. He did this by setting standards so high that everyone he touched raised their standards a little bit as a result of knowing him.”

Frank Adamouski also said that his son’s standards guided his life from a very early age.

On one occasion during his seventh grade year, Adamouski missed his school bus. Rather than compromise his perfect attendance record, he ran home and phoned a cab to drive him to school, according to his father. Before the cab arrived, he scoured his home for spare change.

As the cab drove him to school, James watched the meter climb until it reached the maximum that he could afford to pay, at which point he told the driver that he would walk to school. The driver, sympathetic, turned off the meter and drove him the rest of the way.

According to his father, Adamouski “made a difference in every class, with every teacher.”

At Robert E. Lee High School in Springfield, Virginia, Adamouski was a star on the soccer team, and he also played football and ran cross country and indoor track. He attended American Legion Boys State between his junior and senior year and was eventually elected president of his senior class.

“One of his teachers went on TV and said that, twelve years after his graduation, the difference he made still remains,” Frank Adamouski said.

At West Point, Adamouski continued to play soccer, making the all-Patriot League, and went semi-professional in Germany for a brief stint.

However, according to Matt T. Wiger—an HBS student who attended West Point with Adamouski—a knee injury Adamouski sustained during his senior year of high school threatened his athletic prospects during his first year at the Academy.

“He was actually cut from the soccer team his plebe year at West Point because of [the injury],” Wiger said. “He came up and played JV next year and subsequently passed up seven or eight guys on a very deep varsity to earn a starting position for his junior year.”

Wiger recalled him as an individual who was able to inspire good graces in everyone he met.

“Jimmy was one of those guys. In the army it’s very hard to be liked by both your commanders and your subordinates. Jimmy was able to balance both. He was loved up and down the chain of command,” Wiger said.

On one occasion, according to his father, Barbara Walters and General Norman Schwarzkopf were on the West Point campus, waiting for cameras to set up. Adamouski walked up and struck a conversation with the two luminaries.

“Twenty minutes later, [Walters and Schwarzkopf] had to be pried away,” Frank Adamouski said.

After graduating from West Point, Adamouski was accepted to flight school in Ft. Rutger, Alabama, where he learned to fly Black Hawk helicopters.

After his first assignment to Geibelstadt, Germany, Adamouski went on two deployments to Bosnia and one to Albania during the Kosovo conflict, after which he returned to Fort Rutger for advanced training.

Last August, Adamouski married his wife, Meighan, before he was deployed to Iraq. At the time of his death, they had lived together for four and a half of the seven months they had been married.

Meighan Adamouski could not be reached yesterday.

According to his father, Adamouski was also a committed Christian and a lay Eucharistic minister in the Catholic Church.

Frank Adamouski said that the family received a letter from their son after his death detailing how he conducted prayer services, scripture readings and served communion for his fellow soldiers in Iraq.

“Since his mother had always wanted him to be a priest, his company started calling him ‘Father Jimmy,’” Frank Adamouski said.

His father said he received a stream of phone calls and e-mails from people whose lives his son had impacted.

According to Frank Adamouski, one message reads, “I served with Jimmy in Germany. He encouraged me to go back to school and now I’m getting my Bachelor’s in the spring. I owe it all to Jimmy.”

Full military burial services for Adamouski at Arlington National Cemetery are tentatively slated for the week following Easter.

War in Iraq Claims Life of Lee High Grad
Army Capt. James Adamouski is first war fatality from Fairfax County
April 9, 2003


A photo of James Adamouski with wife Meighan taken before he departed for Kuwait.

Jimmy Adamouski's leadership qualities are what Laura Griffith felt would lift her brother to the Oval Office one day. That opportunity will never happen as U.S. Army Captain James Adamouski became the victim of a helicopter crash in Iraq on Wednesday, April 2. The loss left the Springfield family in mourning. “He had this quality, this aura, Griffith said. “He would have been the first Polish-Catholic president.”

Adamouski's determination to graduate from West Point was an early sign of those leadership qualities. A 1991 graduate of Robert E. Lee High School in Springfield, he was president of the senior class, according to his father Francis J. Adamouski Jr.
An only son, James Adamouski had three sisters. In addition to Laura, there was Karen Marion, 33, and Jaclyn, 24.

“They all went to him with their problems. Jimmy was always the leader,” Francis Adamouski said.

According to information released by the Department of Defense, Adamouski was one of six U.S. Army soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, who were on the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter which crashed in central Iraq.

The Adamouski family got word of the accident on Thursday, April 3, 2003, and immediately drove to Georgia, where the 3rd Aviation Regiment is based.

Francis Adamouski looked at his son's determination and attitude as potential lessons for the younger generation. “I think the story of his life would be a great help to the younger generation,” he said.

This wasn't the first time that James Adamouski was in harm's way. He went to Bosnia three times and Albania once. But his mother Judith Adamouski felt uneasy about the deployment to Iraq. “This deployment bothered me a lot, I didn't have good vibes,” she said.

When she expressed concern to her son, he said, “I'll fly low and I'll fly fast.”

Adamouski, 29, had been married seven months to the former Meighan Lacey, a fellow graduate of Lee High School. Although the two did not know each other well at Lee, Griffith felt the circumstances behind their relationship were unique. Griffith met Meighan while working at Outback Steakhouse in Springfield and introduced the two.
“They didn't know each other,” Griffith said. “I was the one who introduced them. We all went out. Afterward she said ‘I'm going to be Mrs. James Adamouski.'”

At Lee, Adamouski loved soccer but played football one year for the Lancers as the kicker. Mary Schaefer, a teacher at Lee for the past 22 years, remembers Adamouski. She taught earth science at the time and when the class broke into lab groups, he was a natural leader.

“He would take charge of them, he always did it in a very pleasant way,” she said.
As far as a future president of the United States, Schaefer thought that was possible as well.

“That's not far-fetched at all,” she said. “He did have the potential of being president. It was a tragic loss. We have truly lost someone that might have done wonderful things for our country.”

All of his school years, James Adamouski was obsessed with perfect attendance, Griffith remembered. Once, while a seventh grader at Key Middle School, he missed the bus and called a cab. When they arrived at school, James Adamouski realized he did not have enough money, but the cab driver understood.

“Typical Jimmy,” said Griffith, of her brother's persistence.

James Adamouski planned on completing his master's in business administration and had been selected to teach economics at West Point.

When the Army is through investigating the crash, the family will have a service at The Church of Nativity in Burke the evening prior to a burial at Arlington National Cemetery.

Griffith suffers from multiple sclerosis and Meighan Adamouski requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made in her husband's name to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.

Captain James Adamouski, 29, of Springfield, Virginia, had flown more than a thousand hours in Black Hawks. When his mother would fret about the danger Adamouski would promise to fly low and fast. He was not piloting the day he died.

A star soccer player at West Point, Adamouski played semipro soccer when stationed in Germany. He had big plans: He had just been accepted at the Harvard Business School and he hoped to teach economics at West Point. He married just seven months ago.

In his last message home — to his wife, Meighan, on March 30 — Adamouski wrote of his eagerness to be home, fears about the war and his confidence in his men.

”The conventional Iraqi Army forces are no match,” he wrote. ”However, the crazy Iraqi with a bomb strapped to his chest or a shoulder-fired missile is what scares me the most.”

Army Captain James Adamouski, 29, Savannah, Georgia

Captain James Adamouski knew that his mother worried about him flying so he frequently reassured her: “I'll be safe, and I'll fly low, and I'll fly fast.”

Adamouski and five other members of the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, based at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, died April 2, 2003, when their UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed in central Iraq. Adamouski had more than 1,000 hours logged flying the Black Hawk but wasn't the pilot when the accident occurred.

“I wanted him in tanks,” Judy Adamouski said. “But he'd always tell me, ‘Mom, the Black Hawk is the safest helicopter the Army has.'”

Adamouski was a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., where he played soccer. He was so good that he played for a semi-professional team when he was stationed in Germany.

“Anything with a ball he loved,” said Meighan Adamouski, his wife of seven months. “He drove me nuts watching sports, but he let me watch the Home and Garden Network. He was great that way. I used to ask God why I was so lucky to have been given such a great husband.”

Adamouski had just been accepted to Harvard Business School and planned to teach economics at West Point after earning a master's degree in business administration.

“What his West Point buddies told us is that Jimmy died the way they wanted to die,” his father said. “He died in a blaze of glory, and he's an American hero.”


  • VETERAN SERVICE DATES: 06/02/1995 – 04/02/2003
  • DATE OF BIRTH: 06/22/1973
  • DATE OF DEATH: 04/02/2003
  • DATE OF INTERMENT: 04/24/2003








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