The Commerce Journal

Local News

September 23, 2013

'I learned a lot in a hurry'

COMMERCE — Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Chris Adams flew dangerous missions in the Vietnam War, served as a high ranking officer during the Cuban Missile Crisis and earned numerous awards, including two Legions of Merit, the Department of Defense Meritorious Service Medal and a Distinguished Service Medal during his long and distinguished career.

But he does not consider himself a hero; just a man who worked his hardest day-in and day-out.

Adams was the inaugural speaker in the War and Memory Lecture Series staged Wednesday in the Rayburn Student Center at Texas A&M University-Commerce.

The event was hosted by the East Texas War and Memory Project in conjunction with the Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Alpha Theta honor societies.

Adams is a distinguished alumnus from the university, and shared a few stories of his time on the old East Texas State Teachers College campus.

Adams was part of the Air Force ROTC program, where he received his commission on May 25, 1952, when Dr. James Gee was president of the university.

“That Sunday morning we graduated and 70 of us received commissions from the Air Force,” he said, adding that before they walked across the stage, Gee walked up to him and gave him strict orders. “He said ‘Chris, when you come across the stage, you take it with your left hand and you salute me with your right hand.’ I said ‘Yes sir.’”

Adams was later approached by a colonel who heard what Gee had told them. Adams said the colonel said since neither Gee or the 70 men were not in uniform, they could not salute.

“I was frozen. I had no idea what to do,” he said. “My name gets called and I walk across the stage and went to accept my diploma with the right hand and he jerked it back and told me ‘Salute.’ I did, then walked off stage.”

After graduation, Adams moved on to the Strategic Air Command (SAC), the largest strategic nuclear deterrent force in the world today.

Adams said the SAC was key to winning the Cold War, especially when the late President Ronald Reagan was in office.

“President Reagan was a master of that too as he became our president,” he said. “I can’t tell you everything or I’ll have to kill you.”

Adams said it was a tough but rewarding job that kept him on base 24/7.

From there, Adams was sent to Ohio State for missile graduate school. His studies were cut short by Vietnam.

“I had to get out of the grad program and go back to flying in Vietnam,” he said, adding his first job flying C-141’s in Vietnam was his hardest. “One of the most dreadful was bringing the bodies back.”

After Vietnam, Adams took a position as chief of staff at the Strategic Air Command at Omaha, Neb. and retired from the military to work as the Assistant Director of Operations at the Los Amos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

“It was a good move,” he said. “I had 2,500 people working for me. I learned a lot in a hurry.”

During his distinguished career, Adams said it is good to plan ahead, but it was also important to be adaptable in multiple situations.

“I never tried to plan my career,” he said. “I was told to let the Air Force plan it.”

Three things are essential to having a good college and workforce career, Adams said.

“Live your life, do your job, and work hard,” he said. “You need to know where you are before you leap. Don’t try to leap frog or get ahead of yourself. And don’t be intimidated.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • A&M-Commerce announces guaranteed tuition plan

    Texas A&M University-Commerce will roll out a new guaranteed tuition plan called [in]tuition beginning in the fall semester of 2014. [in]tuition guarantees all students a set rate on tuition and mandatory fees for two or four years, depending on their classification.

    July 20, 2014

  • Muralupdate1.jpg Organizations come together to beautify Commerce

    Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Texas A&M University-Commerce and the City of Commerce have partnered to bring a new “Vintage” mural to Commerce, highlighting the city’s and iconic brand’s longstanding relationship and heritage.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Canadian tour bus accident leaves one dead, 50 injured

    A teenage girl died and more than 50 people were injured when a Canadian tour bus skidded off Interstate 87, broke through a median guard rail and rolled on its side down a steep embankment in northeastern New York.

    July 19, 2014

  • Council approves members, passes glass bottle ordinance

    The Commerce Parks and Recreation Board is now fully staffed, following the approval of three members by the Commerce City Council.

    July 18, 2014

  • Dan_Flynn.jpg State lawmaker intends to re-file 10 Commandments legislation

    The Texas Department of Transportation initiated a fierce debate earlier this year after informing a Texas woman that she could no longer display a sign featuring the 10 Commandments.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gomery Michigan ex-prosecutor arrested in murder-for-hire plot

    A former Michigan prosecutor was charged Monday with soliciting a hitman to murder the attorney who represented a business partner in a contentious fraud and malpractice lawsuit over the ownership of a golf course.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • School tax rate increases

    Low property values and a decrease in enrollment caused a slight tax increase for Commerce Independent School District, according to Finance Director John Walker.

    July 14, 2014

  • g258000000000000000c4985ae14aba1b54c02044ccfe867384c3b14f48.jpg Airman laid to rest back home in Indiana six decades after death

    Unchecked tears rolled down Paul Martin’s lined face as he clutched the hand of an Air Force servicewoman who handed him a handwritten note at the graveside service for his older brother.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Meet new pastor Dr. Gregory Neal, enjoy FUMC Commerce ‘Jeopardy’

    “What is a fun way to meet the new pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Commerce?”

    July 11, 2014

  • Hospital to open next spring

    Hospital officials and local politicians were in Commerce last week to mark the ground breaking of Hunt Regional Emergency Medical Center at Commerce, an approximately $5 million facility that will be located on Highway 24 between Whitley Residence Hall and the President’s House.

    July 9, 2014

Featured Ads

Poll

How many games do you think the Lions will win in 2014?

7-9 wins
4-6 wins
1-3 wins
     View Results
Must Read
Facebook
AP Video
Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Obama Offers Condolences at Dutch Embassy Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Raw: Lawmakers Scuffle in Ukraine's Parliament The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide