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Highlighting the World Wars I & II Memorabilia Collection of Dave Sleeper

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Adams, James W.


Rank: Staff Sergeant
Serial Number: 34196713
Military Branch: Co. B. 18th Infantry Reg., 1st Division
Origin: Georgia
Date of Death: 1944-10-12
Shadowlawn Cemetery, La Grange, Georgia
Featured: No

James Wyatt Adams, one of 6 children, was born November 11, 1917 in LaGrange, Georgia to Iron and Ida Adams. He enlisted in the army at Ft. McPherson on January 28, 1942. The 18th Infantry was involved in the Africa and Sicily invasions, and then landed at Omaha Beach on D-Day on June 6.

A copy of Adams' service record from the National archives is included in the group thanks to a fellow collector. 

Adams was promoted to PFC on 1/23/1943, them to Corporal on 5/26/1943, then to Sgt. on 8/16/1943 and then to SSGT on 3/22/1944. He was assigned to Co. B 18th Inf. on 5/16/1942. Much of his record is handwritten, so difficult to read. It appears he went to England, arriving 8/6/1942. He sailed for North Africa on 11/8/1942, and was in the Algeria/Tunisia campaign until May 9, 1943. The he was in the to Sicily campaign from June 10 to August 16, and thence back to England November 5, 1943. He then was in the invasion of Normandy arriving there on June 6, 1944.

SSGT Adams was wounded in the right eye near la Vacquerie, France on June 15, 1944. He was awarded the Purple Heart while in the 7th Gen. Hosp. per GO#17 on Aug. 15. 1944, and awarded the Silver Star on August 21, per GO 32 while still in the hospital. 

SSGT Adams was awarded the first Silver Star by 1st Division Headquarters General Order 32 for action on June 8, 1944 as stated above. He received his second Silver Star for action in Germany on Oct. 9-10. He was killed in action in Germany on October 12, 1944 and was initially buried in Henri-Chappelle Cemetery in Belgium. He was re-buried in Shadowlawn Cemetery on November 19, 1947. James' brother, Waymon, also was in the Army. He died in 1982 and is buried with his brother.

SSGT Adams' group includes 4 medals: an un-named slot brooch Purple Heart and un-named split brooch Silver Star (edge numbered 46248) with presentation boxes, and his posthumous officially engraved slot brooch Purple Heart and Silver Star with presentation boxes, original 5x7 photos of both James and his brother Waymon in uniform, plus internet research. The un-named medals are in all likelihood those presented to him in hospital in August 1944. Copies of the awards found in the National Archives material are quoted below.

 First Silver Star Citation: 

 "DETAILED RESUME OF SERVICES REDNERED BY STAFF ASSISTANT JAMES W. ADAMS, 34196713

      "On 8 June, 1944 in the vicinity of Formigny, France, Company “B”, 18th Infantry was advancing on strong enemy positions when the advance was held up by an enemy machine gun. Staff Sergeant James W. Adams voluntarily exposed himself to draw the enemy fire. The fire which followed this courageous act revealed the enemy position, and Staff Sergeant Adams immediately directed the company fire on the position, knocking it out. While directing this fire Staff Sergeant Adams was continuously harassed by sniper fire, and once the machine gun was knocked out he advanced and killed the two most persistent snipers, thus enabling the company to advance and carry out its mission.

                                     /s/ JESSE R MILLER, JR.,

                                          1st Lt. 18th Infantry" 

 

 Second Silver Star Citation:

                       

"DETAILED RESUME OF SERVICES RENDERED BY STAFF SERGEANT JAMES W. ADAMS, 34196713.

       S/Sgt James W. Adams, 34196713, Company “B”, 18th Infantry, while serving with the Army of the United States, distinguished himself by heroic achievement in connection with military operations not involving participation in aerial flight against an enemy of the United States.

     On the afternoon of 9 October, 1944, Company “B”, 18th Infantry, was assigned the mission of moving from its positions in the vicinity of Verlautenheide, Germany, to pass through a friendly company on Crucifix Hill, and join Company “I”, 18th Infantry. The two companies were then detailed to move through the enemy lines to the prominent terrain feature identified as Ravels B Hill. This terrain feature overlooked the last escape route for the enemy garrison in Aachen, Germany. In order to complete this mission it was necessary to move through a sector defended by an estimated battalion of hostile troops and to travel some 1500 yards across open terrain that was dotted with pillboxes. Since no reconnaissance had been possible the move was to be made under cover of darkness and by the use of a map. Lt George Duguay was platoon leader of the leading platoon and S/Sgt Adams was squad leader of the leading squad. Realizing the importance of the mission Lt. Duguay assumed the position of a scout and selected S/Sgt Adams who was very skilled at night reconnaissance to act as the other scout. The two men moved out with the two companies following in single file behind them. Many times it was necessary to halt the column while S/Sgt Adams and Lt. Duguay moved forward to reconnoiter hostile positions and pillboxes, sometimes the two men approached to within twenty feet of enemy troops. Several times it was necessary for the entire column to lie prone or to withdraw a short distance while hostile patrols or columns passed. On other occasions the long column formed the two companies was broken momentarily while enemy patrols passed through the column, but so successfully did S/Sgt Adams and Lt. Duguay lead the companies that the objective was reached and the hill occupied without a single casualty being suffered. Several pillboxes were captured, a battalion commander and part of his staff were taken prisoners and fourteen enemy were captured in all. Radio communication was established with friendly units and for thirty-six hours the two companies remained in position, surrounded by an enemy that was unaware of their presence, and information regarding enemy troop movements was radioed to the Battalion CP. When, at last, the presence of these two companies was discovered by the foe numerous attacks were launched in an attempt to drive our troops from this strategic position, but the companies had taken full advantage of the time and had firmly entrenched so that the enemy attacks were unsuccessful.   

     The heroic actions, daring, and skill of S/Sgt Adams and Lt Duguay in leading two companies more than ¾ mile through enemy-held territory and to set up a defensive position and OP in the territory of the foe, to operate that OP for some thirty-six hours without being detected  by the enemy, and then to defend this position against numerous and strong attacks by the enemy, reflect the very finest traditions of the military service, and will long be remembered by those who witnessed these deeds.

     This enlisted man was not wounded during the course of the action for which award is recommended.   

                                             /s/ JESSE R. MILLER, JR.,

                                                Captain, 18th Infantry,

                                                Company Commander."

In addition to the above, copies of eyewitness statements are included in the paperwork. SSGT Adams was killed in action just two days later on October 12.