Hometown Heroes - Jim Adams

Army Ranger served in Vietnam
Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 5:13 AM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Jim Adams signed up for the U.S. Army Rangers in 1962 at the age of 19. His first assignment was at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. He stayed there for about a month before going to Vietnam.

“I wanted combat,” said Adams. “On my first firefight, I thought, ‘Jim, I think you’re a fool. I think you made a bad mistake.’ But I got used to it. Before every mission I went on, I was scared to death. I think all of us were. But once we got into it, we were able to live with that.”

The Army Rangers are similar to the Navy Seals. Adams was with the 75th Airborne Rangers and went on special missions with a small team.

“We had 7-man teams and what we were assigned to do was go out in different areas and try to locate those North Vietnamese teams and report on them. We went to Laos and Cambodia. We marched the Ho Chi Minh Trail.”

Many of his missions were covert and top secret.

“Sometimes we would ambush small teams that would be coming down, where we could get away with it and not get caught by them. We wore no identification. Our tiger stripe camouflage had no names, no units. We wore no dog tags.”

It was a heavy task for someone barely 20 years of age.

“Just a kid, and when you saw the North Vietnamese we were fighting, they were just kids. That was the saddest part about it.

Adams was awarded a silver star, a bronze star, and several Purple Hearts. Later, he became a DEA agent based out of Houston, working many undercover operations here in Southwest Louisiana.