Veteran's Reflections: 'It Was a Thing I Had to Do'
(November 14, 2010)
Buster Adams, a World War II Army veteran, poses for
a picture at the Alexandria National Cemetery,
Alexandria, Va., Sept. 11, 2010. Adams discussed his
time in service and what it means to him to be a
U.S. military veteran. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class William Selby
||WASHINGTON, Nov. 10, 2010 – Buster
Adams dedicated his life to serving his country,
though he didn't intend initially to do it through
Originally from Texas, Adams moved here to work as a
civilian for the U.S. Army Signal Corps in 1942,
when the Pentagon was still under construction and
the War Department was based in downtown Washington.
His talents with encryption came in handy when he
was drafted into the Army in 1942. He would end up
spending three years in the service, encoding
messages at Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur's rear
headquarters in Oro Bay, New Guinea.
He hadn't intended to join the Army, he said, but
when he got his draft notice, he knew he had an
obligation to fulfill.
“I wasn't particularly happy about it [at the
time],” he said. “It was a thing I had to do, so I
Adams' Signal Corps experience paid off in more ways
than giving him the skills needed to be a
cryptographic clerk. His island station, he
recalled, was sandwiched between sandy beaches with
clear, warm water and coconut plantations.
Timing was on his side, as well.|
“When I first arrived there, the Battle of Buna was over,”
he said. “It was still technically a combat zone, but the
combat had already moved up the coast away from us.”
Upon returning to the United States in early 1946, Adams put
away his uniform and became a government civilian employee
with the Signal Corps. He ended up serving more than 30
years of federal service as a servicemember and civilian. He
retired from his job with Naval Air Systems Command on Jan.
Though he hadn't intended to don the uniform when he started
working for the Army, he said, he learned a lot of valuable
lessons as a soldier -- lessons he thinks every young person
needs to learn.
“I think it builds character,” he said. “It gives people an
appreciation for what we stand for in our country, and I
think everybody, every male at least, should have some
By Ian Graham|
Emerging Media, Defense Media Activity
American Forces Press Service
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