Medal of Honor Highlight: Lucian Adams

  • Caleb Downing

World War II saw its share of heroes.

Some of those heroes went unnamed in the annals of history, but many of them were recorded for us.

Today we will take a look at one of those recorded heroes and perhaps catch a glimpse of what he went through and what went through his head. Here is the story of SSgt Lucian Adams.

Lucian Adams was born to a Texan family of 14 on October 22, 1922. That’s right – a family of 14.

He, along with 7 of his other brothers, joined the military during World War II. Born in Texas, joined the service with seven of his brothers, you can almost read between the lines and conclude that there had to be some friendly sibling rivalry going on.

His brothers would soon find out that Lucian was not only going to win some bragging rights but he would also be bringing home the nation’s highest award, the Medal of Honor. 

SSgt Adams first made his mark early on in 1944 when he neutralized a German machine gun nest on the beaches of Anzio. These actions awarded him a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.

Later that same year SSgt Adams, Assigned to the Thirtieth Infantry Regiment, was stationed in Eastern France near the Vosges Mountains. The Germans had recently reinforced their troops with soldiers who were familiar with the area.

These reinforcements began to wreak havoc on the American defenses in the area. Some of these German reinforcements successfully cut off the supply lines to two companies effectively separating them from the rest of the battalion.

On October 28, 1944,  SSgt Adams’ regiment was assigned the task of re-establishing contact with the two separated companies.

When his company was stopped by heavy enemy fire, SSgt Adams was given the task of scouting the area and trying to find a way through the enemy forces. SSgt Adams returned to his command and reported three enemy machine gun nests.

As he was the only one who knew where these nests were located, he was ordered to take the lead in driving out the enemy.

As SSgt Adams approached the enemy forces he came under heavy fire which killed three of his soldiers and wounded six others.

This is when SSgt Adams went into action.

With a borrowed BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle), he charged the enemy strongholds. With accurate bursts from his BAR and several hand grenades, the German troops were overwhelmed by this wild Texan.

Within ten minutes, SSgt Adams had successfully wiped out three machine guns, killed nine Germans, captured two more Germans, and caused the other remaining Germans to flee in terror. Due to his whirlwind-like assault, SSgt Adams’ fellow soldiers began to call him the “Tornado from Texas”.

Later on April 22, 1945, Lt. Gen. Alexander Patch awarded SSgt Adams the Medal of Honor. If that wasn’t enough, this ceremony was held in the Zeppelin Stadium, Nuremberg, Germany, the exact stadium where Hitler gave many of his famous speeches.

Minutes after the ceremony, the giant swastika that overlooked the stadium was detonated by the Army engineers. 

We call that a “flex” in today’s lexicon.

In reading the accounts of SSgt Adams’ action, I can’t help but have flashes of Rambo popping up in my head. Can you imagine what it would have been like to see this wild Texan SSgt charging into entrenched enemy fortifications while (possibly) hip-firing a BAR and hurling grenades? I. for one. stand in awe of this man’s grit and total commitment. 

In an interview conducted by the Medal Of Honor Society, SSgt Adams didn’t sound the least bit arrogant when he recounted the actions he took that day. I’ll leave you with a quote from this hero which I believe sums things up pretty well: 

“I never had any fear. And you do things so automatically because of the training that you had in the States that you don’t take time to think how serious, you know, the predicaments you get into are sometimes. And before you know it, you’re in it to your head and you just have to fight your way out.”

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