Celebrating 100 Years with a WWII Veteran | Community
The past 100 years provide many reasons – from the service of his country to his family – to celebrate for a local man this year.
Phil Adams will celebrate his 100th birthday on Saturday November 20 in Marlow after reaching a centennial milestone on November 19.
Adams, born November 19, 1921 in El Dorado, Kansas, has resided in the town of Marlow since 1984.
Martha Green, her daughter, said her father attributed her longevity and good health secret to Jesus and the doctors.
“He quit smoking in 1983 and started walking three to five miles each day,” she said.
Living a life of service to his country, Adams served in World War II from 1942 to 1945 as a Master Sgt. in the 371st Medical Battalion.
According to Green, he was part of the 71st Infantry Division of General Patton’s Third Army.
“He still remembers his ID plate number – 37199667,” Green said.
In addition, Adams was a master sergeant. responsible for getting supplies from headquarters to the hospital, according to Green.
“It forced her to travel to the edge of German territory,” she said.
Thanks to his daughter, Adams recalled his time in World War II.
“On May 4, 1945, his battalion liberated Gunskirchen, a Jewish concentration camp in Austria,” Green said. “The troops helped comfort the survivors with food, clothing and medical assistance. “
Adams would tell you that he saw the Holocaust happen face to face and in real time.
“When asked what he would say to someone who said the Holocaust never happens, Dad said, ‘I saw it. The Jews were only half alive. He met a Polish doctor in the camp who showed him the mass graves, ”Green said. “This doctor later became a friend.”
According to the Holocaust Encyclopedia website, after being formed in 1943, the 71st Infantry Division deployed to the European theater of operations in February 1945.
The division was known as the “red circle” which was based on the divisional badge which included a red circle.
According to the website, there were 1,114 combat casualties and 279 total combat deaths.
The division was recognized in 1988 as a liberating unit by the United States Army Military History Center and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
According to Green, his father had three brothers, two of whom also served in World War II.
“Two of them served in the Navy in World War II, Bob and Paul,” Green said. “Paul lost his life when, on November 3, 1944, the submarine USS Reno was torpedoed off the Philippines. Bob lived to be 91 years old.
Adams trained for the service in Leavenworth, Kansas, before traveling overseas.
“The overseas trip took two weeks by boat from the United States to England,” Green said. “During that time he slept in a hammock and survived on the Hershey bars.”
After serving his country, Adams went on to represent his country as a traveling businessman and business owner.
According to Green, Adams worked from 1974 to 1983 as a factory representative for Texas Boot and Hondo Boot.
Green said that through Adam’s travels he would cover areas in six states, including Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Texas and Arkansas.
“He then, along with his wife, Louise, owned four Just Boots stores,” Green said. “Located in Tulsa, Sand Springs, Oklahoma City and Marlow.”
Adam’s greatest achievement is “to be 100,” Green said.
“He worked hard,” Green said.
Adams’ main wish for his 100th birthday is love.
He said he would like people to remember that, “I don’t remember anyone I didn’t like.”
With six children and numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren, Adams is able to keep up with the current generation of tech and social media, like Facebook.
According to Adams, he would like to see the country as it was, “it’s all about love”.
With his earliest memories of around four or five years old, Green said his father recalled attending St. Joseph’s Church for fellowship with his mother.
Adams said that “seeing the communion host fall to the floor” was one of his favorite memories.
Adams’ favorite pastimes include walking and dancing – he even won a high school dance competition, according to Green.
Hiking was another of Adams’ most enjoyable adventures.
According to Green, he climbed all the mountains to the top around Tucson, Arizona, and he “enjoyed working hard and providing for his family.” He also enjoys eating lobster, shrimp, and halibut, and Green said Adams’s dad owned a fish market while he was growing up.
Adams currently lives at home with his wife, Louise, and he spends the majority of his days thinking about his children.
For more information on the 71st Infantry Division, visit https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/the-71st-infantry-division.