Adam Williams was born on September 27, 1919, in Gastonia, North Carolina. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on September 1, 1938, and served in the Field Artillery before transferring to the Army Air Corps in 1939, where he was trained in aircraft maintenance. He served as a B-18 Bolo and then B-25 Mitchell crew chief with the 37th Bomb Squadron at Barksdale Field, Louisiana; Lowry Field, Colorado; and Pendleton Field, Oregon, from February 1940 until he was selected for the Doolittle Mission in February 1942. Sergeant Williams was the flight engineer/gunner on the 13th B-25 to take off from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8) on April 18, 1942, and after bombing enemy shipping and supplies at the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan, the crew flew to China and bailed out when their aircraft ran out of fuel. After the raid, Sgt Williams remained in the China-Burma-India Theater, and served as a B-25 flight engineer and gunner with the 11th Bomb Squadron of the 341st Bomb Group in India until returning to the United States in March 1943. After returning to the United States, MSgt Williams served with the 334th Bomb Group, 330th Army Air Force Base Unit, and then the 128th Army Air Force Base Unit at Greenville Army Air Base, South Carolina, until receiving an honorable discharge on July 4, 1945. Adam Williams died on November 30, 1993, and was buried at the Hillside Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Plymouth, North Carolina.
His Distinguished Flying Cross Citation reads:
For extraordinary achievement while participating in a highly destructive raid on the Japanese mainland on April 18, 1942. Sergeant Williams volunteered for this mission knowing full well that the chances of survival were extremely remote, and executed his part in it with great skill and daring. This achievement reflects high credit on Sergeant Williams and the military service.