Veterans’ Reflections: ‘It Was a Thing I Had to Do’

WASHINGTON — Buster Adams ded­i­cat­ed his life to serv­ing his coun­try, though he did­n’t intend ini­tial­ly to do it through mil­i­tary ser­vice.
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.

Buster Adams, a World War II Army veteran, poses for a picture at the Alexandria National Cemetery, Alexandria, Va.
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
Click to enlarge

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 did it.” 

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. 1, 1977. 

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 mil­i­tary duty.” 

(“Vet­er­ans’ Reflec­tions” is a col­lec­tion of sto­ries of men and women who served their coun­try in World War II, the Kore­an War, the Viet­nam War, oper­a­tions Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and the present-day con­flicts. They will be post­ed through­out Novem­ber in hon­or of Vet­er­ans Day.) 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →