Staff Sgt. Adams was driving along the highway in North Carolina with his wife in October 2016 when they witnessed a truck lose control and leave the road. The truck went down a steep embankment, hitting trees as it fell, before coming to a stop. The Special Forces soldier didn’t lose a second and went right into action.
As his wife called 911, Staff Sgt. Adams ran 75 yards down the embankment towards the crashed truck. Despite the smoke coming from the vehicle — and the danger that presented — Adams went to work removing three passengers from the vehicle. A fourth person had been ejected from the vehicle during the crash.
Inside the truck were a woman and two children. Adams removed them from the wreckage and carried them up the embankment where he gave them immediate medical assistance until an ambulance could arrive.
In March, Staff Sgt. Adams — who wasn’t identified by his full name by the Army due to his Special Forces work — was awarded the Soldier’s Medal, the highest Army award for acts of valor during peacetime.
“Unsure if the vehicle smoke would eventually turn into a vehicle fire, [Adams] repeatedly risked his life in order to attempt to save the lives of others,” said the citation for his award.
Adams, who risked his own life to remove the crash victims from harm, said, “The only thing I could really think about was the people in the vehicle.”
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Unfortunately, the 26-year-old passenger who was ejected from the vehicle and one of the children, a 12-year-old, died as a result of the accident. The 33-year-old woman and her 7-year-old child both survived though, thanks to the heroic efforts of Staff Sgt. Adams.
“There’s two folks who are alive today because of the acts of (Staff Sgt. Adams),” said Brig. Gen. Richard Angle, presenting the Soldier’s Medal. Brig. Gen. Angle cited Adam’s valor in risking his own safety to help the victims, saying, “He not only made that choice once. He made that multiple times.”
Jacob H. is an award-winning journalist and photojournalist who currently resides is West Michigan with his wife. In his spare time, Jacob enjoys writing, photography, mountain climbing, and camping.