|Birth: ||Oct. 6, 1906|
|Death: ||Oct. 31, 1987|
General, U.S. Army
Paul DeWitt Adams was born in Heflin, AL. In 1924, after graduating from the Marion Military Institute (the State Military College of Alabama), he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and graduated with the Class of 1928, receiving his commission as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry.
From 1942 to 1944, Adams served as Executive Officer of the 1st Special Service Force, a joint World War II American-Canadian commando unit organized in 1942 and trained in the U.S. In that position, he helped direct the Ranger tactics of the First Special Service Force in the Aleutian Islands and Italy; he also served in hot spots from Anzio and Ardennes - Alsace to the Rhineland, and in central Germany. The brigade became known as The Devil's Brigade. (A 1968 film of that name recounts the Brigade's formation, training, and its first European mission in the Italian campaign.)
Following that assignment, from January 1944 to January 1945, he commanded the 143rd Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division, serving in the Mediterranean and European Theaters. From January 1945 to January 1946, Adams was Assistant Division Commander of the 45th Infantry Division. This was followed by staff assignments to Headquarters, Army Ground Forces in 1946 and to the Command and General Staff College from 1947 to 1950. He was a student, and then faculty member, at the Army War College from 1950-51, before being deployed to fight in the Korean War.
During the Korean War, Adams consecutively served as Commanding General, 25th Infantry Division; Chief of Staff of X Corps; and as General Maxwell Taylor's Chief of Staff at Eighth U.S. Army. After the war, from May to December 1953, he was Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division. In 1958, he served as Commanding General, U.S. Army Forces in the Middle East where he directed U.S. Army and Marine forces in the landings in Lebanon. From 1959 to 1960, he commanded V Corps. From 1960 to 1961, Adams concurrently served as Commanding General, Third U.S. Army, and Commanding General, Fort McPherson, GA.
After receiving his fourth star in 1961, General Adams became the first Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Strike Command (STRICOM) at MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, FL. STRICOM integrated the Continental U.S.-based forces of the Army's Continental Army Command and the Air Force's Tactical Air Command. (These were essentially elements from the Army's Strategic Army Corps (STRAC) and the Air force's Composite Air Strike Force (CASF). During the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, under Adams command, STRICOM alerted some 100,000 men, readied 1,000 aircraft for takeoff, and moved 15,000 armored-division troops to staging areas. Fortunately, Prime Minister Nikita Khrushchev got the message. In the fall of 1963, he was the key commander in ‘Operation Big Lift' that sent 15,377 men and 445 tons of combat equipment to Europe in only 63 hours.
In 1965 the Atlantic Fleet became STRICOM's naval component command. Initially, STRICOM's assigned missions were to: (a) provide a reserve of general purpose forces for reinforcing the other unified commands, (b) train the general reserve, (c) develop joint doctrine and, (d) plan for and execute contingency operations. Subsequently, STRICOM's missions were expanded to include planning for, and execution of, operations in an area covering one-third of the earth's land surface, including some 70 nations of the Middle East, Africa south of the Sahara, and Southern Asia (MEAFSA). General Adams served as Commander-in-Chief at STRICOM until his retirement in 1966.
The Nation column of the Friday, 17 April 1964 issue of Time magazine had this heading: "General Adams: Toughest of the Tough." The first paragraph of the article went on to say:
"The U.S. officer directing Exercise Delaware, General Paul DeWitt Adams, 57, is reputed to be the roughest, most hard-nosed American commander since General George S. Patton. Subordinates look into his leathery face, freeze before his cold stare and stern lips, and dub him ‘Old Stoneface.' The most combat-experienced commander on active duty, Adams expresses his military credo succinctly. Says he: ‘The man who creates the most violence in a military situation is the one who will win.'"
And like General George S. Patton, Adams drove himself, and his men, relentlessly to achieve assigned objectives. He was known for working 10-hour days, seven days a week; he even worked with his staff on both Christmas and New Year's Day. The kind of tribute that Paul Adams grudgingly respected was that expressed by one of his STRICOM officers: "I don't like the guy, but if war starts, I don't want anyone else leading me."
Under the title of ‘KILL THE S.O.B.'s' in the November 1965 issue of SAGA magazine, "The SAGA of America's 10 Most Feared Fighting Men List' included General Paul DeWitt Adams.
General Paul DeWitt Adams' military career spanned thirty-eight years and he fought in two wars: WWII and Korea. His list of awards includes:
Army Distinguished Service Medal – 2
Silver Star Medal
Legion of Merit – 2
Bronze Star Medal – 4
Combat Infantryman Badge
Basic Parachutist Badge
After retiring, he was president of Paul D. Adams & Associates from 1966 to 1971.
He was married to Mabel (Decker) Adams and they had two children together; a daughter, Marjorie, and a son, Robert T., who was also an Army officer.
General Adams died on 31 October 1987 in Tampa, FL.
Bio compiled by Charles A. Lewis
Mabel D Adams (1905 - 1978)
Myrtle Hill Memorial Park
Maintained by: Charles A. Lewis
Originally Created by: Erica
Record added: May 20, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 52625284