On the National Park Service birthday, today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Air Force Veteran Donald S. Adam, who volunteers at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
In October 1966, Donald S. Adam joined U.S. Air Force under the delayed enlistment program. After basic training, Adam went through extensive training as a Morse code interceptor operator and communications electronics specialist.
After this training, Don spent about 23 months in Misawa, Japan, before deploying to Vietnam. Before heading to Vietnam he attended additional Intercept Operator and Airborne Radio Direction Finding (ARDF) training and two survival schools. The training helped Adam locate and identify the enemy using ARDF techniques, as well as collecting intelligence information. Adam was stationed at Pleiku and Da Nang from October 1969 to October 1970. He flew over 100 combat missions and received a Distinguished Flying Cross and several Air Medals.
“I had just turned the ripe old age of 22 when I arrived in Vietnam,” he said. “I lost a bunch of my youth and some of my sanity, but I was and am a survivor. While in the Air Force and especially in Vietnam, I learned about living, dying, friendships, work, skills and just how short life could be and how important each day was. There were sad times, some bad times, some fun times, some exciting times and some extremely intense times but all I believe made me a better, wiser person and who I am today.“
In 2002, Adam started volunteering at the National Mall and Memorial Parks. He volunteers specifically at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to honor his cousin and comrades who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Adam has volunteered over 20,000 hours and has been recognized for his services. He continues to do so even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.