Local News

Morrisville Marine Killed In Iraq Wanted To 'Fight The Terrorists'

Posted October 18, 2005 5:30 a.m. EDT

— Before there were tears, there was plenty of laughter in 24-year-old Marine Sgt. Mark Adams' family.

"He was the typical life-of-the-party guy," Marshall Adams recalled of his brother.

A member of the Marine Forces Reserve's II Marine Expeditionary Force Augmentation Command Element from Camp Lejeune, Sgt. Adams died Saturday after a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle in Saqlawiyah, Iraq. He was standing in the machine gun turret of the armored Humvee, the only position on the truck that was exposed. No one else on the vehicle was hurt.

Those who knew Sgt. Adams best said his journey as a man started on the Cary High School wrestling team and led him to the heart of one of the most dangerous places on earth.

He first joined the Marines after he graduated in 1999. After his enlistment ran out, he returned home and was helping coach his high school’s wrestling team when his parents said he felt compelled to re-enlist because he wanted to fight terrorism.

His father, Phillip Adams, remembered the conversation he had with his son when he chose to go back to the Marines.

"He told me, 'You’re either going to fight the terrorists over here or over there,'" Phillip Adams said. "As a parent, my reaction is, 'Son, you can get killed over there.' He told me, 'Daddy, that's war.'"

One of the last things Rene Adams said she told her son was that God was in control.

"If it's not your time to go, then you'll be back," she told him. "And if it is, I know God's in control."

Control was something Sgt. Adams relied on, but in the end, it was something he could not control that ended his life -- a roadside bomb. That was the one thing that his brothers, who also served in the military, feared most for their brother.

As for Phillip Adams', his son's fate is a source of both pride and pain.

"I am so thankful -- I've never experienced anything like this," he said. "(I) never thought I could hurt as bad as I'm hurting, but I've never been as proud -- not only of Mark, but of every one of those Marines and Army and Navy and Air Force -- every one of them."

The 38th soldier from North Carolina to die in Iraq, Sgt. Adams will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.