Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Brent Allen Adams

West View, Pennsylvania

December 1, 2005

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
40 Army Sgt 1st Class

Army National Guard's 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division

Washington, Pennsylvania

Killed when an improvised explosive device detonated near his military five-ton truck during combat operations.

 

SFC Brent Adams
April 29, 1965 ~ December 1, 2005

Sgt. 1st Class Brent Allen Adams, born April 29, 1965, in Lancaster, PA. Killed in action in Ramadi, Iraq on December 1, 2005 at the age of 40. He was a member of the Army National Guard, 2nd Brigade Combat Team deployed to Iraq in June of 2005. He is survived by his wife Marilyn and a 4 year old son Daniel living in Pittsburgh, PA. He was the son of William A. Adams III (wife Pamela Adams) of Millersville, PA and Barbara E. 
Benard (husband John (Jack) L. Benard Jr.) of Columbia, PA. 

Additional survivors include sister Melissa A. Nalevanko ( husband Steve Nalevanko) of York, PA, step-sister Lisa Anderson (husband David Anderson) of East Petersburg, PA, step-brother John (Doug) Benard (wife Lisa Smith) of Mashpee, MA, step-brother Brent Benard (wife Jody Ritzman) of Lebanon, PA, and ten nieces and nephews. Brent 
is the Godfather to niece Alexandria Nalevanko. He is also survived by a maternal grandmother Arlene Wimer, Lancaster, PA, and step-grandparents Dale and Pat Martin, Hanover, PA, and numerous Aunts and Uncles in the Lancaster, PA area.

Brent was born with a head full of dark hair and plump little cheeks. He was a happy baby with a smile that followed him into adulthood. That smile became know by his friends and fellow soldiers as the "Adams' Smile."

His entire life he was forever curious and developed a love of books and a thirst for knowledge. He was an avid outdoorsman, enjoying backpacking, hiking and camping. He loved music of all kinds from heavy metal to big bands and symphonies. He was an avid Penn State, Pirates, and Steelers football game watcher. He knew the bible well and was active in his church. Brent was President of his Church Council prior to his deployment to Iraq. 


Brent also enjoyed trips to the beach with his family and loved being on the water fishing or watching the sunset. He waited a long time to marry and become a father. In 1999 he married becoming a father in 2001 to Daniel Louis Adams. Daniel was the center of his life and completed Brent. I have never seen him as happy as the years he 
spent with Daniel. He was a very devoted hands-on father, doing everything for his son from changing diapers, to staying up with him when he was sick.

On the day that Brent was killed we found out that he volunteered for this particular mission to give his men a break from all the work they were doing. He was assigned to the Marines for the day to help build a new base for the Iraqi Army. On the return trip his vehicle was struck by a rocket fired by insurgents. We were told that God was merciful in that Brent probably died instantly and did not suffer. 

We have heard stories from his fellow soldiers about how he conducted himself while in Iraq...so selflessly helping others, being a great leader to his men. His character, his sense of humor, and his knowledge of God and the Bible and always sharing it with anyone who would listen has brought us comfort and made us even prouder than 
we already were. They call him a Hero (a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities) - to his family , he already was and forever will be. 

Brent, your responsibility to your men, your loyalty to the oath you took, your unwavering commitment to duty, and your honor make you our shinning star.

All our lives have changed forever and you Brent will always hold a special place in our hearts that no one else could ever replace. We will move forward knowing that you are now our Angel and will look out for all of us. We will help raise your son and tell Daniel about his wonderful father, and continue the great job you had begun. We will relive each memory we have with each story we tell him throughout his life. God gave us this gift named Brent Adams. The gift that even his death cannot take away will be the wonderful memories we all have of this precious baby who turned into a man that we will be proud of forever. 

God will give us strength to get through this, to the point that we can once again smile at a memory of Brent rather than tears that flow so easily now.

Missing you terribly,
YOUR LOVING FAMILY
The following is from a soldier who served with our son Brent:

Ma'am,

I recently saw a post you had made to a family that lost a soldier. I wanted to write you to let you know I had the pleasure and honor of knowing your son, as I served with him in Ramadi.. I know there are no words that I or any of us can give to ease your loss, but my Mother thought I should share the attached message with you: it is the email I sent out to my friends and family after I first learned your son was killed. Rest assured that those of us who served with your son will never forget him.

My deepest sympathy, Mark

Subject: A Fellow Soldier's Award

I don’t know how long it has been since my last update. I imagine quite a while. For about two months now I have been moving around the country almost continuously. Although I technically moved to Balad (LSA Anaconda) a month ago, I haven’t seen it in a month. 
Between that and the fact that I try to never write when I am depressed or angry, I know it has been quite a delay. I decided I should probably write now to tell you about one of our sergeants, who earned the Bronze Star yesterday. Sergeant First Class Adams, headquarters company of 2/28th Penn Guard, is close friends with our chief paralegal and has spent quite a bit of time around the legal offices. A great guy, a great soldier…. He has always joked that he was glad that he was my friend… in case he ever got in trouble, he already had a lawyer.... of course, not the type of soldier to actually ever need my help. He has volunteered to drop me off and pick me 
from the landing zone in Ramadi a number of times. He even volunteered to teach me how to drive a HUMVEE, a true sign of his bravery… one of those rare positive people you always are happy to see cause he always seems to be upbeat about life. Yesterday, Sergeant Adams was killed by an IED while doing a routine parts run to another base. Sorry to have share this with you rather than the positive holiday message I had hoped to send and will hopefully send next week. As the numbers of dead climb well past two thousand, I just want everyone to remember that there is still a name behind every number… the name of someone’s friend, someone’s parent, someone’s child. There is laughter silenced, a lifetime of potential sacrificed. Sometime this week you will hear on the news about number two thousand and something. That number belongs to hero that gave his life; he answered his country’s call to serve. 
That number belongs to Sergeant First Class Adams, and he will be missed.

Mark
From Pam Adams 01/27/07

I was reminded this Christmas season of an old saying I heard years ago that goes something like --when one door closes, another opens but sometimes we look so long and hard at the closed door we never see the new one that has opened. The opened door came to me this year through the words of a five year old boy named Daniel L. Adams. 
As Daniel was happily playing with his new airplane gliders he suddenly announced that incoming mail was coming via the plane. He flew the plane over to us and asked if we could read Alien to which we replied no and so he took a few steps back as if on stage and proudly displayed his letter and began to read without hesitation. It’s from Daddy he announced. I love you very much; I’m sorry I had to go away but I got shot by some bad guys and had to go to heaven; I love you. With that he quickly ran off to play again. As his Mother and I were sitting looking at each other choking back tears and in a sense “questioning” this letter – a few minutes later Daniel runs back into the room with yet another glider and announced it was yet another letter from Daddy. He begins to read (because this one too was in Alien speak). I’m sorry we have been broken apart for a while now, I miss you very much. I love you very much. I am in Heaven with God. Much much later that evening as Daniel lay on the sofa he said softly – Daddy tells me “it’s ok Daniel”. We asked him how does he know Daddy is all right to which he replied “Daddy is talking to me right now. He talks to me all the time. Can’t you hear him?". He goes on to tell us that Daddy tells him that he is in heaven with God and he was given his black belt and is now a black belt Angel working with God but watches me all the time. With that said, Daniel once again bounced off the sofa and was on to other things. 
I realized at that moment the best gift I was given this season was not something wrapped, not something bought, and not something I could feel and touch and hold. It was this gift – this precious moment in time that had just occurred. The peace that came over me with the realization that Daniel was not looking at a closed door but through an open one was just what I needed. 
As I came downstairs this morning with the thought that I wanted to share this experience with others, I turned the corner on the landing I was greeted by yet another site. The King nutcracker that I have standing proudly at the bottom of the stairs was wearing two airplane gliders that were obviously gently placed there. I stared at them wondering were these the two airplane messengers? And just who placed them there - two little hands or two bigger ones??? 
I am looking through the open door today and I saw as well as received the message. Merry Christmas to you in Heaven Brent – apparently you have received your black belt which I am sure means that you have graduated to the highest level of Angelhood. In your son’s eyes – it is obvious that no one stands any taller than you.

Loving you always and missing you more
Your other Mother Pam

 
The following are a few letters we received from his fellow soldiers that are our favorites:

Hello, I want to tell you how truly sorry I am. Brent was a really great friend even though we did not know each other all that long. There is nothing that I wouldn't have done for him and nothing that I won't do for Marilyn and Daniel. I loved to tease Brent about his taste in music. I would never see him so happy as when he was listening to some symphony. I really will miss him a lot. Yesterday we had Brent's memorial service. I know he would have hated it because it was beautiful and many tears were shed. I had the entire ceremony video taped and will be bringing a copy with me when I visit Marilyn. Like I said, it was beautiful. 5 of us spoke about Brent. Normally 
only 2 are allowed. Another thing was that one of the soldiers, SGT Zyke, sang a song for Brent. I have never seen that before at a military memorial. The most amazing thing was the number of people who came. As part of my job I have gone to every memorial so far and that was the most people I have ever seen attend. Even I never realized how popular he was around here. Everyone will miss him very much. After the ceremony we had a cookout in his honor. We all drank near beer and laughed about the fun times we had with Brent. It really was nice. Once again I am truly sorry. My and my families prayers are with you and the rest of Brent's loved ones. If there is anything at all we can do, please ask. 


The memorial service for your son went well. I have been to a couple of these over here (unfortunately), and I can honestly say that this one had the largest crowd by far. You need to know that Brent was well liked by many people. He had the ability to influence soldiers in a very unique way.....a way that you rarely see in the military. He would "develop" his team by working side by side them. He was not afraid to laugh and joke with his soldiers. The constant theme throughout the service (brought up by many) was his smile.....the Adams' "Smile." The mission that he went on that day could have been assigned to any one of his soldiers. Brent knew that his crew 
had been working very hard that week, so he decided to give them a break and take the mission himself....now that is leadership.....looking after your men and not giving them a task that you would not do yourself. We can all learn from his example. You should be receiving a CD of the ceremony shortly. Once a gain, I am terribly sorry for your loss. 



To all who care about Brent Adams, I want to share a story about my friend Brent Adams. You have to understand that even after 15 years of Catholic education that I am still not a very religious person. I never really believed in the afterlife, but an event happened on the night we said goodbye to Brent that has me re-thinking my stand on religion and the afterlife. When a Soldier is lost, the army sends a helicopter to retrieve the remains from the base the same night. This flight is dubbed “The Angel Flight.” What happens is all of the friends and fellow Soldiers of the fallen will gather at the helicopter landing pad to say their final goodbye. We did the same for Brent, 
but things did not go exactly as planned. The Angel flight took 3 attempts to finally get to our base. We all joked that this was Brent messing with all of us as he had done the entire tour. I laughed with everyone else but still did not believe that Brent had anything to do with it. After the Angel flight had finally arrived, Sgt. Dami and I headed towards our Hummer. I had parked it in a separate area so we kind of headed off in the opposite direction as everyone else. As we got about half way to the Hummer I noticed a 5-Ton truck (The same kind of truck that Brent was driving when he was lost) just kind of appear out of the darkness. The truck stopped as I looked. 
There was no reason for a truck that size to be in that area so I tugged Sgt. Dami on the shoulder and told her “Check that out.” When she looked over the truck shut down and turned off its light. We both just stood and stared for a good minute or two before the truck started back up, made a right hand turn and drove away from us back into the darkness. You can argue that the driver was just lost or a number of other things but the whole event was just too coincidental. As I said I am not a very religious person but even to me that was Brent saying goodbye and also letting both of us know that he was still around and watching out for us. I hope that anyone who 
reads this will take the same comfort in this experience that I do.



Hello again,
Here is another picture of Brent. In this one he was receiving an award. The title of the certificate reads "Hero of the Rotation." He got it for doing such an outstanding job during our time at NTC (National Training Center in California). Thanks to his efforts and the efforts of his team, not one training mission was delayed because of maintenance issues. I can tell you that this is an almost impossible achievement. The conditions at NTC play real havoc with all of our equipment. He really did an outstanding job and we were all very happy that the command recognized how hard he and his crew worked. The award was presented here in Iraq by Captain Fisher 
during a meeting of all of the senior NCOs in the company. To be honest I think he was a little upset that the award had his name on it. 
He told me just after that it should have been made to the maintenance section. I told him to be quiet and learn to take a compliment. :-) 
He really was very proud of his crew and could never stop talking about something that they had accomplished as a team.
I will continue to send more pictures. I hope they are helping. I know it is helping me to remember some of the fun that Brent and I enjoyed so thank you all. 



I wanted to share this picture with you first. I am responsible for the memorial pictures for all of our lost soldiers. It is always hard and I never like doing it. Putting this one together was obviously the hardest on me and others offered to take care of it, but I wanted to make sure that it was done right. I think it is a great picture of Brent but there is a little secret about the picture. If you noticed on Brent's wrist there is his Pittsburgh Pride Bracelet. I can't tell you how many time he was told to take that bracelet off by the command here. To be honest, it really is against regulations to wear a non-religious bracelet. It was the one order he refused to follow so I made 
sure that it was in his final picture. I did it for Brent but also thought it would bring a smile to my face every time that I looked at it. It does and I hope it does the same for all of you. I will send more pictures tomorrow. 



When someone, anyone, had a problem it instantly became Brent's personal 
mission to help fix whatever was wrong. No matter how large or small the problem, Brent always had that same look of concern on his face when talking about the situation. If Brent had a selfish side at all, I think it was he never really wanted help from anyone. He would drive me crazy because he would help me get some things done but when I offered to help him out, he would tell me not to worry about 
it. I mean the guy could be trying to construct a skyscraper with nothing more than a hammer and he wouldn't willingly accept help. :-)
Eventually I learned to stop offering help and just jump in and lend a hand. When he realized I was helping he would always stop, put his hands on his him and give me that look of his when he was trying not to smile. I would look at him and give some sort of remark like... Are you going to just stand there?One day he was loading a truck full of equipment. He was loading the truck for a mission that was leaving in a convoy early in the morning. It was starting to get late and I was just getting done work. He knew I was also going on a mission early the next morning and got seriously mad at me when I started to help him.He kept telling me that he could get it done and 
that I needed to get some sleep. I told him that I already had a mother and if he wanted the job he would have to go call her. I said but before you do, I wish you would help me get this truck loaded. :-)His argument was that he could sleep in so it was no big deal. Brent never slept in. He was out of the room by 8am no matter what was going on that day. I didn't say anything else and continued to load the truck. Brent gave me a dirty look and than we loaded a few more things. He said that was everything and we both headed towards the room. The next morning I went by the truck and there had to be twice the amount of stuff on it as when he said "That's Everything." 
The sneak waited for me to fall asleep and than went back down to finish loading the truck himself. I was so mad at him that I wanted to unload the truck just to get back at him for tricking me like that. :-)When I finally saw him later that day he just started walking in the opposite direction laughing like a clown. He got me good that day. :-) I will be sending more tomorrow. I hope everyone is sleeping 
well. Take care.



I am very much aware of the events that happened yesterday. I wanted so very much to give you a warning, but we are limited in our ability to share details before families are notified. Yesterday, SGT Adams was driving a truck on a very dangerous road. I had traveled on this very road (past the very same spot) less than an hour earlier. He volunteered for the mission to go out and help with an Iraqi army camp that was being developed. The mission went well until the drive back. His convoy was attacked by a rocket...in fact, his very truck was struck. The truck flipped over after impact. SGT Adams survived the attack. Medics rushed to the scene and tried very hard to stabilize him. His upper pelvis was shattered, and he was bleeding extensively. Unfortunately, he died of wounds on the way to the aid station. We were all stunned. He was very well liked by all here. I had personally talked with him on numerous occasions about Sally...and you. Everytime I passed hi m, I called him "cousin" because of the special relationship you two had. Last night, as his 
body was being carried out to the helicopter (we call it the "Angel" flight...flight of the dead back to the States), we all formed a line of respect and saluted with tears running down our faces as he was being carried to the helicopter. All of us were a mess. I want to let you know that I am terribly sorry for what happened. I told you that I would look after him, and I feel as if I did not do a good enough job. The company is having a memorial service on Monday for him. He died doing a very important job in a very dangerous place. He volunteered for the mission, and his brave duty as a soldier was performed with the utmost sacrifice. A number of the soldiers here are taking it very hard...including myself. We will continue to d o our jobs in his honor.



I first want to tell you how very sorry I am. I can't begin to imagine what you and Daniel are going through right now. Brent was such a great guy. really don't know what to say. I still really can't believe that he is gone.As you know Brent and I have become very close friends in a short period of time. We worked in separate parts of the base but roommates and we got together for lunch and dinner just about every day. After dinner we would usually watch a movie or sit around listening to music and talk about different things.I would always get on his case about his choice in music. It was just a few days ago that he told me he had season tickets to the symphony. I 
asked him if he was kidding and he told me no. He said he loved to go drink beer at intermission. He said that everyone else was drinking some sophisticated drink and would look at him sort of strange because he was drinking beer. :-)What I loved most about Brent was how simple things would make him so happy.A package from you was enough to put a huge smile on his face for days no matter how tired or overworked he was. He loved to share the Tastykakes with me because he knew that I loved them almost as much as he did. And the stuff you would send from Daniel... I am just surprised that they held up by the time everyone was done looking at 
them. He was so proud of the artwork and other things that you would send.A funny story... A couple of days ago one of the other guys around here gave me a ton of music for my computer. Brent called me on the radio a dozen times and stopped by my office twice just to see if I had finished transferring all of the music so he could look through it. After it was done he stopped by and spent about 3 hours 
picking out different songs. You would have thought that every song was his all time favorite by his reaction. He would look and go "oh... Oh... this song is great!" and than he would play it. This lasted about 3 nights. :-)I did not see much of Brent the last 2 nights. He spent most of the time after chow down in his office. He wanted to get his Christmas shopping done. I have the newsletter due so I was busy in my office. The night before he was lost, I got back to the room around 11. He was not there so I headed over to his office to check on him. He was sitting in his chair and had music blasting as loud as it could be played. I just had to laugh. Did he always love 
music so much? He was kind of celebrating getting all of his shopping done. :-)His last morning he came into my office around 10am. 
He wanted to yell at me "Guess what my dad and mom saw on the web-site today?" He was "mad" about some pictures that I put on the web-site of him from Thanksgiving. This was after the whole Newsletter picture that you saw. :-)He yelled at me for a few minutes than I told him it was his fault that he didn't look good in pictures. He told me that he knows he doesn't look good in pictures but that 
was no reason for me to use them. Most of our conversations were like that. We spent a lot of time poking fun at each other.I didn't go to lunch with him that day. I was busy and needed to get some things done. I did see him just after he got into the truck before he left. I asked him where he was going and he told me. I asked him why he was going and he said that he needed to give his guys a break. 
There have been a lot of missions lately and his section was working a lot harder than normal to help get the missions done.He than 
asked me to make sure a key got to SGT Jones that he had forgotten to give her. So I took the key and shook his hand. I told him to be careful and watched him drive off. . If it is alright with you I would like to deliver them in person when I am home on leave during the week of Christmas. I know it will be a very rough time you and understand completely if you would rather I didn't. I just want to do what I know Brent would have done for me. 
Once again I am very sorry. I wish there was something I could say that would help. 

"Every Christmas Morrill Worcester of Maine donates 5,000 wreaths to be placed on the graves at Arlington National Cemetary in Washington DC. For the past few years, Larry Ross, a schoolteacher in Maine, along with his 5th grade class have been traveling to Arlington to help lay the wreaths. In October of this year Mr. Worcester had a vision of expanding his efforts by also having a wreath laid at National and State Veteran’s Cemetaries in every state. He contacted Mr. Ross and his students; enlisted their help in accomplishing the major effort.

Not only did Mr. Ross and his students readily accept this challenge, they met their goal by successfully contacting a family member of a fallen soldier in every state. To represent the Fort Indiantown Gap National Veterans Cemetary , I was contacted by the students and asked to participate in helping them achieve their goal by laying a wreath today to honor all our service men and women who gave their all for our country. Like the students, I readily accepted this honor as well to participate in this event. 

All wreaths were placed today at 12:00 noon in all states following a moment of silence to remember all our veterans. 

I know I speak for all families who have lost sons and daughters to this was as well as any war, when I say it means everything to know our courageous young men and women will truly be remembered always." Your Other Mother Pam

Dear Brent,
I simply cannot believe that today marks a year since you were killed. It still seems unreal. Mostly it still feels like only yesterday and my mind is flooded with each and every moment and second of the things that happened on that day.

Dad and your sister Miss are spending the day hiking Hawk Mountain - a place where you and he hiked many many times as a family. I know they will be taking lifesavers and Tastycake Blueberry pies as was always taken on these hikes. I cannot think of a more fitting way to spend the day tomorrow and take along their many memories of you. It's supposed to rain but they are going anyway - I think only a blizzard would have cancelled this trip today. Dad saying that it's fitting to hike in the rain since you and he spent so much time hiking in the rain in England on your backpacking trip.

For me, as today moves slowly forward I find that I wish December 1st would just disappear quickly all the while knowing it won't matter - the thoughts of today are no different than the thoughts of you everyday, it's only that today brings more tears with them I suppose.

My mind is full of thoughts of you, memories of our times together and my heart is full of love and pain at the same time. 

I know you are ok Brent - it's us left behind that are having the hardest time. Just know you are loved forever and missed longer and more than that.

Thank you for the years of love you gifted me with - I treasure them always.

Love
Your "Other Mother"
Pam"


Yesterday (10/21/06) we attended a Re-Dedication of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division, Fallen Warriors Memorial at Fort Indiantown Gap, Annville, PA to honor our son Brent A. Adams and 83 others. This Memorial stands 21 feet tall, echoing the 21-gun salute. The damaged steel represents the unique war the living fight and the fallen leave behind. Steel plates cover all four sides, acting like up-armor and holding the names of the fallen. Inside, ID tags for each fallen soldier are suspended from chains. A light shines on them from the base of the structure skyward through the obelisk cap. As the wind passes through the structure the tags move with a wind chime suspended below them, creating a subtle sound, like the quiet whispers of the Fallen as they continue to speak to us. I will hear Brent speak to me everytime I visit this Memorial as I did yesterday - a sound I found very comforting. To those who created and constructed this Memorial, originally in Ramadi, Iraq, only to break it down and bring it home and reconstruct it at Fort Indiantown Gap --- my heartfelt thanks and gratitude go to you all. It is yet another reminder that none of our soldiers will ever be forgotten and their spirit will live on.

Pam and Bill Adams
(Proud Parents of SFC Brent A. Adams, KIA 12/1/05, Ramadi, Iraq)

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