Mark P. Adams – Sergeant, United States Marine Corps

NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense
No. 1053-05
October 17, 2005

DoD Identifies Marine Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Sergeant Mark P. Adams, 24, of Morrisville, North Carolina, died October 15, 2005, from an improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations against enemy forces in Saqlawiyah, Iraq.  He was assigned to Marine Forces Reserve’s II Marine Expeditionary Force Augmentation Command Element, Camp Lejeune, N.C.  During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Adams was attached to 2nd Marine Division, II MEF (Forward).

Morrisville Marine Killed In Iraq Wanted To ‘Fight The Terrorists’
18 October 2005

Before there were tears, there was plenty of laughter in 24-year-old Marine Sergeant Mark Adams’ family.

“He was the typical life-of-the-party guy,” Marshall Adams recalled of his brother.

A member of the Marine Forces Reserve’s II Marine Expeditionary Force Augmentation Command Element from Camp Lejeune, Sergeant Adams died Saturday after a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle in Saqlawiyah, Iraq. He was standing in the machine gun turret of the armored Humvee, the only position on the truck that was exposed. No one else on the vehicle was hurt.

Those who knew Sergeant Adams best said his journey as a man started on the Cary High School wrestling team and led him to the heart of one of the most dangerous places on earth.

He first joined the Marines after he graduated in 1999. After his enlistment ran out, he returned home and was helping coach his high school’s wrestling team when his parents said he felt compelled to re-enlist because he wanted to fight terrorism.

His father, Phillip Adams, remembered the conversation he had with his son when he chose to go back to the Marines.

“He told me, ‘You’re either going to fight the terrorists over here or over there,'” Phillip Adams said. “As a parent, my reaction is, ‘Son, you can get killed over there.’ He told me, ‘Daddy, that’s war.'”

One of the last things Rene Adams said she told her son was that God was in control.

“If it’s not your time to go, then you’ll be back,” she told him. “And if it is, I know God’s in control.”

Control was something Sgt. Adams relied on, but in the end, it was something he could not control that ended his life — a roadside bomb. That was the one thing that his brothers, who also served in the military, feared most for their brother.

As for Phillip Adams’, his son’s fate is a source of both pride and pain.

“I am so thankful — I’ve never experienced anything like this,” he said. “(I) never thought I could hurt as bad as I’m hurting, but I’ve never been as proud — not only of Mark, but of every one of those Marines and Army and Navy and Air Force — every one of them.”

The 38th soldier from North Carolina to die in Iraq, Sergeant Adams will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

18 October 2005:

The Defense Department says a Marine Corps reservist from North Carolina was killed by a roadside bomb last week during combat in Iraq.

Sergeant Mark P. Adams of Morrisville died Saturday in Saqlawiyah, Iraq.

Adams, 24, was a member of the Marine Forces Reserve’s II Marine Expeditionary Force Augmentation Command Element from Camp Lejeune.

Adams had served in the Marines and had returned to the Triangle to help coach wrestling at Cary High School and attend college.

He was one of the top wrestlers in the state during his senior year at Cary High.

His father, Philip Adams, said his son was excited about what he was doing in Iraq and had called him a few days before he was killed.

A Marine Corps reservist from North Carolina who rejoined the Marines only after a recruiter assured him that he would be deployed to Iraq was killed by a roadside bomb, authorities said.

Sergeant Mark P. Adams, 24, of Morrisville died Saturday in Saqlawiyah, Iraq.


Family members said the Marines who told them of Adams’ death said Adams was standing in the machine gun turret of the armored Humvee, which is the only position on the truck that’s exposed. No one else on the vehicle was hurt, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported.

His brother, Mike, 25, said that before Mark Adams left for Iraq, he mentioned a sergeant who had said he wouldn’t take the turret. Although it’s unusual for a platoon leader to sit there, Mark Adams said he wouldn’t ask Marines to take on a duty he was unwilling to do.

“That was Mark,” said Marshall Adams, the 28-year-old brother of Mark Adams.

Adams was a member of the Marine Forces Reserve’s II Marine Expeditionary Force Augmentation Command Element from Camp Lejeune.

He first joined the Marines after he graduated in 1999. And after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, he did duty in the Pacific, which frustrated him, Mike Adams said.

So when his enlistment ran out, he returned home.

In June, he told the Marine Corps he would return on the condition he was sent to Iraq.

His father, Phillip, spoke with him Thursday, when Mark Adams was in a good mood, partially because he had been promoted to platoon leader.

“He was a Marine’s Marine, and he was doing exactly what he wanted to do,” his father said.

25 October 2005:

A Morrisville Marine will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.

Mark Adams, 24, was killed when a roadside bomb exploded near his Humvee last week.

A funeral for Adams was held in Cary on Saturday. Fellow wrestlers, Marines, family and friends all came to honor the life that was taken too early.

Shrapnel from a roadside bomb may have claimed Adams’ life but it did not take his memory from the countless people he touched.

“He was younger than me but I looked up to him,” a fellow Marine said. “He taught me about values, good family. He was a good-hearted man.”

After helping his Cary wrestling team win state, Adams enlisted in the Marines and served his country for four years. Adams then spent a year working, going to school and volunteering as an assistant wrestling coach at Cary High.

“He was a leader so when he was in charge of something or a leader he did a good job of it,” said his mom, Rene’ Adams.

Adams re-enlisted in the Marines and was in his first month of service in Iraq when his family got the news of his death.

“And I told my son, ‘Mark, you can get killed over there’ and I’ll never forget these words he said, ’Daddy, I’m not afraid to die for my country,’” added Adams’ father, Phillip Adams.

Adams is the youngest of three brothers who are all serving their country. He will be laid to rest Tuesday afternoon at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

3 Servicemen, 3 Stories of Dedication
Burials at Arlington Honor Those Who Fought in Iraq
By Lila de Tantillo
Courtesy of the Washington Post
Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Three men who chose to risk their lives for their country by serving in Iraq were laid to rest yesterday at Arlington National Cemetery. One had switched military branches to pursue his dream of flying helicopters; another could have retired but chose to remain in the service; and a third decided to reenlist on the condition that he be sent to Iraq.

Chief Warrant Officer Dennis Patrick Hay of Valdosta, Georgia, was killed August 29, 2005, when the helicopter he was piloting was attacked by enemy fire in Tal Afar, Iraq, near the Syrian border. Hay, 32, was assigned to the 4th Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, of Fort Carson, Colorado.

Rebecca Hay holds her daughter, Abigail, next to relatives during a service for her husband, Chief Warrant Officer Dennis Hay of Valdosta, Georig1a. “Dennis went back for a second tour because of the Iraqi children,” a friend said.

A horse-drawn caisson led a procession through rain and blustery wind yesterday from the U.S. Coast Guard Memorial to Hay’s final resting place. A military band played “America the Beautiful” as an honor guard folded the flag covering the urn that held Hay’s ashes. Major General Charles Wilson presented the flag to Hay’s wife, Rebecca. Hay also was mourned by his children, Jacob and Abigail, parents Barry and Patty, brother Barry and sister Bridgette.

“The most important thing to Dennis was that he wanted people to know that he had a relationship with God, and he wanted to make sure that other people did, too,” said Misty Ricks, 30, a friend from Brunswick, Georgia, who had known Hay for more than a decade from Agape Christian Fellowship in St. Marys, Georgia.

Ricks knew Hay as an adventurous guy in her youth group who rode a BMX bike and liked to use it to do stunts — but only if he could execute the thrill-seeking maneuvers safely.

Hay had served as a parajumper in the Air Force before applying for a transfer several years ago to the Army so he could train to become a helicopter pilot. He hoped to use the skill one day as a missionary to bring aid to those in need.

“Dennis went back for a second tour because of the Iraqi children,” Ricks said, adding that he had told her that if others could see the difference the United States was making in the young Iraqis’ future, “they would understand why he was going back.”

Lieutenant Colonel Leon Gifford James II of Sackets Harbor, New York, was wounded September 26, 2005, in Baghdad when an explosive device detonated near his Humvee. He died October 10, 2005, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. James, 46, was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 314th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 78th Division, based at Fort Drum, New York.

Friends said that James, who served as an elder at United Presbyterian Church in Sackets Harbor and helped manage its finances, had been eligible to retire from the service. But he decided to stay to fight for a cause he believed in. He kept in excellent shape — even outrunning men two decades his junior in training drills, his friends said.

For James’s full-honors funeral, a team of dark horses led the procession from the Old Post Chapel. A military band played “Amazing Grace” as the flag-draped coffin — covered with a clear plastic sheath to protect it from the rain — was brought to the grave site. Major General Wayne Erck presented the flag to James’s wife, Silvia, who was accompanied by their children, Maria, Rachael and Kathryn.

Marine Sergeant Mark P. Adams of Morrisville, North Carolina, was killed October 15, 2005, by an improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations in Saqlawiyah, Iraq. Adams, 24, was a reservist attached to the 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward).

A Marine honor guard from the barracks at Eighth and I streets NW in Washington carried Adams’s gray coffin to a grave site near a memorial to those who died serving in Somalia. Navy chaplain Robert Rearick delivered a sermon before the guard presented a folded U.S. flag to Gunnery Sergeant Barry L. Baker, who knelt before Adams’s father, Phillip Adams, to hand him the tribute.

Mark Adams was the youngest of three sons, all of whom served in the military. As a freshman, he joined the wrestling team at Cary High School in North Carolina, and by all accounts his performance at first was terrible. But over several years, he worked to strengthen his body and refine his technique. By his senior year, he was chosen as captain, and the team won a state championship.

Adams joined the Marines shortly after graduation but saw little action during several years stationed in the Pacific. He returned to his home town near Raleigh, where he volunteered as a coach for the wrestling team, but soon decided to return to the service.

Jean Tursam, 57, a longtime family friend, said the elder Adams told the 600 people who attended a memorial service at Colonial Baptist Church in Cary about his son’s motivation.

” ‘We’re going to choose to fight them in Iraq or we’re going to choose to fight them here,’ ” Mark Adams had said.

Tursam said that even after the young Marine was promoted to platoon leader, he still chose to take the dangerous position in the turret of the Humvee, where he was killed by a piece of shrapnel. “He wouldn’t ask his men to do something he wouldn’t do himself,” she said.

Hay, James and Adams were the 181st, 182nd and 183rd service members killed in the Iraq conflict to be buried at the cemetery.


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