Incident Date 19700323 VMO-2 OV-10A 155423+ - Hostile Fire
Adams, Frank Houston Capt AO VMO-2 MAG-11 (DaNang) 1970-03-23 (vvm 12W:034)
: 12W : 034
MAG-11 Command Chronology - March 1970
23 March 1970 - 1137H, Capt Frank H Adams was mortally wounded when struck by a small arms [12.7mm] round while working as an Aerial Observer on a VR mission with VMO-2Submitted by: N/A, 20030828
Comment on Incident
Capt Frank Adams died of a head wound received from a 12.7mm weapon on a mission with Capt B.C. 'Butch' Miller in an OV-10A Bronco with VMO-2/MAG-11/1stMarineAirWing out of DaNang.
Capt Adams had flown as an AO (Aerial Observer) with VMO-2 since 1966, and was very highly respected by many squadron pilots. His basic MOS was 0302 Infantry. He served both as a Company Commander on the ground AND as the airborne eyes of the infantry from various aerial platforms during his time in Vietnam. He had flown AO missions in the UH-1E Huey, the O-1 Birddog and the OV-10A Bronco, primarily with VMO-2 (Marine Observation Squadron Two) out of Marble Mountain Air Facility. He was an infantry company's point man, airborne.
In Memory of Frank Houston Adams
Frank H. Adams, 409580703, Nashville, TN.
Captain - United States Marine Corps
Company Commander, Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division
KIA 22 March 70 - Vietnam Veterans Memorial - Panel 12W Line 27
Of all the people I knew over there I always figured Frank would make it back to the world, Frank had this aura around him. I never medevaced Frank Adams, I was back in the States when Frank got killed. I guess I figured he was to rotate in Sept. 69 and just went home.
Let me tell you about Capt. Frank Adams;
In memory of Frank Adams one of the finest people I ever knew...
Frank Adams came to Golf Company the last week of March 1969, he was a Marine OV-10 bronco and O-1 bird dog AO. Frank was to rotate home in Sept 1969 so he came to Golf Company with six months left in-country. Frank promptly got all of the Platoon Sgts, and his RTO's together and explained why he was here, and what he wanted us to do. He said he was up for Major in July of 69 and had no grunt combat command on his record. He had *volunteered* for the grunts to get line company experience, I remember thinking this was unbelievable an officer from the Air Wing volunteering for the Grunts. He finished up by telling us that he had planned on just *watching, learning and observing* for a while until he knew what he was doing, we were to basically run Golf. Well, ya gotta respect that, he did everything he said he would do and more.
Frank and I became close friends as what happened with a Company Commander and his RTO.
Frank was the kind who drank beer with his men; he had no time for the officers club. In fact he later got in trouble in the O-Club for fighting with a Major. A friend of mine Tom Luneger talks about that fight in his book. I put Frank to bed many a time, he loved his Jack and Lucky Strikes, but he loved his men of Golf Company more. Frank's brother copied some letters that Frank had written to him and gave the copies to me. I could not believe how Frank bragged his Golf Company Grunts up to his brother in the letters. In those letters he was so proud, he had gotten awarded his CAR [Combat Action Ribbon], a couple of PUC's[Presidential Unit Citations], and a purple heart. He says in the letters that he felt a shoe-in for Major; so did Golf Company. We were so sure that he would get Major we bought him his Major Chevrons.
When I visited his daughter in 1994 she showed me a box of his belongings that the Marine Corps had shipped to his family on his death. Inside the box were those Major Chevrons, still pinned to the cardboard - his daughter could not figure out why they were there. I just held them and after a while in a quaking voice, I told her why they were there and what they meant, touching those chevrons brought shivers to me. In the spring of 1994 I visited Frank at Calvary Cemetery in Nashville, I was proud to see mention of Golf Company on his marker.
I will tell you folks three stories about Frank - you judge what he meant to the men of Golf Company from the stories.
Frank was going through a divorce and sent just about all of his money home to his ex-wife for support for his six year old daughter. When R&R came up for him he told me he could not go right then, he had no money and would have to hope he could get to R&R next month. I went around the Company passing the hat among the guys, when I was done I had collected almost 700 bucks. I gave the money to him telling him what I had done, he took it but did not want the money until I had told him that I could not return the money cause I had no idea who gave what. Frank went on R&R with 700 bucks and true to his form he came back with nothing but a good time. Frank was broke before R&R and broke after R&R.
Golf was out at a Leprosarium south of Marble Mountain, Capt. Adams had gotten a call from one of his bird dog buddies that they were having a going away party for one of his friends. They wanted to know if Frank could make it to the party he asked what I thought, I basically said not much going on here what's one night. Frank flew in with the resupply chopper and we settled in for the night. Now that night I will write about later, but basically the s*** hit the fan *big time* we had 6 KIA's and 30 WIA's and Frank was in Da Nang. I covered for him over the radio, that was not hard cause Marine RTO's usually did all the talking to Battalion.
This freed up the Company Commander to direct his troops on the Company Net. Well, that night we had to cover for Frank on both nets and when Battalion realized that I was on both they turned over to our company frequency to monitor it. They kept asking for Frank, I kept dancing, but my silver tongued bullshit worked and they quit asking. About a couple of hours after the medevacs were gone Frank came up on our Company bullshit frequency asking what had happen and what was going on. I told him to stay put until first light, but I had to get Battalion off my back. I called Battalion, held the two handsets together and Frank acted like he was at the Leprosarium and answered their questions. Frank returned at first light, Battalion never knew he was gone. *Every member* of Golf Company knew Frank was gone, but none said a word about it to Battalion.
Golf Company had been assigned as point company for the taking of Go Noi Island - basically we were the first Marines in. The below quote refers to Golf Company's first week on Go Noi.
This is an excerpt from "US MARINES IN VIETNAM - 1969", "High Mobility and Stand Down", Go Noi and the Arizona, page 181....
"Company G's Commanding officer Frank H. Adams, observed the effects. Losing 59 men killed and wounded to booby traps out a casualty total of 70, his company neared the breaking point during its sweep of western Go Noi Island, as he later recounted":
"When you do encounter booby traps and you continue to trip them, it gets to the point where each individual within that unit -- regardless of the leadership that you have -- it gets to the point where the troops say: They put them out there, we have to sweep it, ultimately I'm going to hit that son-of-a-bitch that they put out there. I don't know who is going to hit it tomorrow, but one of these days I'm going to hit one myself. When you get to that point as a troop leader, as a squad leader, as a platoon leader, as a platoon sergeant and a company commander, you are lost, when a trooper feels he is going to get it, you have had the weenie."
"So we went back in, after taking several booby trap casualties, sat down, got the company together, put the security out, and got together for about a 15-minute talk. That is what I had planned, but I kind of choked up on them, so I made it three and a half to four minutes. After talking to them, explaining to them, that these are the things of war that we have to encounter-that we will encounter - the things we have to take - you don't have to enjoy it, you don't have to like it, but these are the things you do encounter. Then we said the Lords Prayer, prayed for those that we had lost, and passed the word, that all of us are going back, that we have the same sweeps tomorrow that we had today and we are going to find every booby trap out there without tripping it. Troop morale raised, we jumped off into the operation the next day and continued to march and continued to sweep."
Folks, Golf Company did not like it, but we went back out because of Frank Adams...
It's karma, below that write up is a picture of Gene'o and members of Golf Company carrying a wounded Marine to the medevac (see picture below).
Frank spend his 6 month tour with the Grunts of Golf Company - in July of 69 he did not get Major. In Sept of 1969, when he was to rotate, he extended to fly for six months, hoping to get Major.
On March 22, 1970, Captain Frank Adams, while flying a spotter mission for fast movers supporting a Marine grunt company in contact southwest of Da Nang, was diving to mark the target, Captain Frank Adams was killed by one 12.5 MM shot to the head.
A toast to my friend, CAPT FRANK ADAMS, COMPANY COMMANDER, GOLF Company, 2ndBn, 1stMarines, 1stMarDiv
G/2/1 - Capt Frank Adams, Commanding
Comment on Incident
On one mission, debriefed by Frank at the hooches over a beer in late 1966, in an O-1 Birddog, the pilot was shot. Frank (as AO) made his one and only landing in that birddog at Marble Mountain. The toughest part of the landing, according to Frank, was getting the backseat control stick out of the snaps on the bulkhead and into the receiver on the deck before the birddog was out of control. He ended with a beautiful ground loop on the runway at MMAF, as experienced by many tail-dragger pilots at one time or another.Submitted by: N/A, 20030831
I had the priviledge of knowing Capt. Adams for a brief time while stationed with the 5th Marines at AnHoa. He was definately a Grunts friend. I often spoke with him without the Officer/Enlisted distance that he demanded when you first met him. I was a Corporal with the Headquarters unit under Major Charles Donaldson. The Major and Capt. Adams were good friends from what I could put together.
He always had a smile and always was able to muster your spirits. I could see by the short time I knew that he was very popular with the men. He would frequent the Enlisted Club and always seemed to have time for listening to what you had to say. I drove him to the LZ in the company jeep the day he left for DaNang enroute to home.
We were all dismayed when we heard the he had been shot down doing a voluntary AO mission while waiting to go home. It did not surprise us because he always wanted to do whatever he could do to help the "Grunts" on the ground. Well he did, right to the end. I will always remember him telling me that I was a good Marine and to keep up the good work. I will never forget Capt. Adams. SEMPER FI