The Photo Request has been fulfilled.

SGM Betty Lee Adams

SGM Betty Lee Adams

New York, USA
Death 20 Jan 2012 (aged 79)
Jacksonville, Calhoun County, Alabama, USA
Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Section 7-E Row 3 Site 4
Memorial ID 84160975 · View Source
Suggest Edits

SGM Betty L. Adams, 79, a soldier highly decorated by the United States Army and South Vietnam Army, died at her home on January 20, 2012 in Jacksonville. SGM Adams was born in New York on December 3, 1932. She graduated from William Cullen Bryant High School in Astoria, New York in 1951. Burial for SGM Adams will be in Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. K.L. Brown Funeral Home and Cremation Center will be in charge of arrangements.

After working one year, she enlisted in the U.S. Army on May 28, 1952 and during her 23 year career she was promoted to every enlisted grade from Private to Sergeant Major. Upon completion of basic training and leadership school at Fort Lee, Virginia, she was selected to remain at Fort Lee as permanent party in a WAC basic training company.

In June 1954 she transferred to The Adjutant General School at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana for stenographic training with a subsequent assignment to Fort Sill, Oklahoma as a stenographer. The Women's Army Corps Training Center had moved to Fort McClellan, Alabama in 1954. SGM Adams, then Sergeant E-5, volunteered for platoon sergeant duties and transferred to Fort McClellan on February 12, 1955. After two years of training troops she transferred to Fort Myer, Virginia and was assigned in the personnel field at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. from February 15, 1957 to September 6, 1960. During this period she was promoted twice and received many awards and commendations.

Sergeant First Class Adams volunteered for recruiting duty and returned to The Adjutant General School for training and subsequent assignment to the U.S. Army Recruiting Main Station in Albany, New York on October 16, 1960. In 1964 the situation in Vietnam had intensified and the Republic of Vietnam was organizing a Women's Armed Forces Corps (WAFC) and wanted U.S. WAC's to assist them in planning and developing it. General Westmoreland, Commander of The Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, authorized one officer space and one enlisted space and the requisitions were submitted to the Pentagon to Colonel Emily Gorman, Director of the Women's Army Corps.

The requisition for the enlisted woman was a first and she was to be chosen for excellence in leadership, training, administration and recruiting. On January 15, 1965 Sergeant First Class Betty Adams stepped off an airplane in Saigon and into the advisory position for the WAFC. Upon her return to the United States, she related a couple of "close calls" that had occurred while she was away. She stated, "The closest I ever came to actual combat was during a visit to a field hospital when word was received that the area was soon to be overrun by the "V.C." It was under the protection of mortar rounds that my party and I boarded a plane waiting for us with the engines running."

She was promoted to Master Sergeant (E-8) on July 30, 1965. On December 3, 1965 she left Vietnam at 5 p.m. and arrived in San Francisco at 9 p.m. the same day, her birthday. "It was the longest birthday I ever had-38 hours long." The next day she took TWA Flight 42 to Kennedy International Airport. It was just before landing that the 707 she was flying in was involved in a midair collision with an Eastern Consolation flight. Her plane lost 30 feet of wing but landed safely. She stated, "Believe me, I never had as anxious a moment in Vietnam as I did in the final five minutes of the flight into New York." Her next assignment was back to Fort Myer with duty at the Military Personnel Center.

This job in personnel led to her promotion to Sergeant Major (E-9) and to another first. Lieutenant General Walter Kerwin Jr., Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, administered the oath of reenlistment to SGM Adams at a ceremony at the Pentagon. SGM Adams reenlisted for assignment to the Army General Staff as an action officer, a unique event in that she was the first enlisted woman to serve as an action officer on the General Staff. She was assigned to the Directorate of Military Personnel Policies, Office of Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, and was responsible for staff actions involving the Army's Qualitative Management Program for enlisted personnel.

Sergeant Major Betty L. Adams, United States Army, retired on May 31, 1975. Her decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Good Conduct Medal 7th award, National Defense Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Vietnam Service Medal with two bronze service stars, Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with 60 device and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm.

She was a member of the Women's Army Corps Veterans' Association, Heritage Chapter 62 Inc., former Director of the Women's Army Corps Foundation, sustaining partner of the Friends of the Army Women's Museum Association Inc., American Legion Post 57 and Jacksonville Meals on Wheels, Inc. She was a mentor to lower grade personnel. She helped them organize sports programs and activities and was a noncommissioned officer they felt free to approach and ask advice.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Paul Peter Adams and Anna Adams. Sergeant Major Adams is survived by two brothers, Paul R. Adams (wife, Carolyn) and Richard T. Adams; two nieces, Tracy Hagaman and Laurie Adams and two grandnephews, Chad and Tanner Hagaman. Memorial donations may be made to the Friends of Army Women's Museum (FAWMA) P.O. Box 1027, Prince George, VA 23875 or Jacksonville Meals on Wheels, 201 Wind Ridge, Jacksonville, AL 36265.

Published in The Anniston Star from January 29 to January 30, 2012





  • Created by: Dennis Ison
  • Added: 29 Jan 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 84160975
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for SGM Betty Lee Adams (3 Dec 1932–20 Jan 2012), Find A Grave Memorial no. 84160975, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Dennis Ison (contributor 46544255) .