Sam Adams was born on August 2, 1935, in Pensacola, Florida. He enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve on July 19, 1953, and went on active duty beginning November 5, 1954, serving as a machinist's mate in the U.S. and Japan until his honorable discharge on July 13, 1958. Adams then enlisted in the U.S. Air Force the next day, on July 14, 1958, and was trained as a refrigeration and air conditioning specialist. He served with the 1707th Installation Squadron at Palm Beach AFB, Florida, from July 1958 to September 1959, and then with the 1360th Civil Engineering Squadron at Orlando AFB, Florida, from September 1959 to December 1964. Sgt Adams next deployed to Southeast Asia where he served with the 33rd Air Base Squadron at Tan Son Nhut AB, South Vietnam, from December 1964 until he was captured and taken as a Prisoner of War on October 31, 1965. On November 2, 1965, Sgt Adams attempted to escape from his captors but was recaptured and executed on December 31, 1965. He was officially listed as Missing in Action until declared dead on May 17, 1974. He was promoted through the ranks to Chief Master Sergeant during the time he was listed as missing, and his remains have never been returned to the United States.
Epitaph For A Hero
If I should perish overseas
In service to my Land
I shall have died a noble death--
Let none misunderstand.
I hope my body will be found,
Returned back to my home,
Where it was nourished and inspired--
No more to yearn, or roam.
Home is the soldier then from the war
Back to his family;
Home is the patriot at last,
Buried in majesty.
Pause, visitor, and cast a glance,
Upon a hero's grave;
Be thankful to breathe Freedom's air,
For which his life he gave.