Local News

Wrestling tournament held in Morrisville Marine’s honor

Posted December 23, 2008 6:25 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:11 p.m. EDT

— Marine Sgt. Mark Adams died three years ago in Iraq. But his memory was honored Tuesday, largely by teenagers who didn't even know him.

“He was a tremendous blessing as a son,” Phillip Adams said.

Mark Adams, who lived in Morrisville, wrestled at Cary High School. 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.

“He felt like he hadn't done his duty as a Marine, and so he actually went back," Phillip Adams said.

A member of the Marine Force Reserve's II Marine Expeditionary Force Augmentation Command Element from Camp Lejeune, Mark Adams died in October 2005 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.

“As a parent, to lose a child is a very tough thing, but to keep his memory alive is really what we want to continue to do,” Phillip Adams said.

To remember their son, the Mark Adams Holiday Classic wrestling tournament is held every year at the school. This year, 20 teams from the Triangle participated.

Wrestling “was his life almost for four years," Phillip Adams said.

“He meant a lot to a lot of people,” friend Anthony Dunbar said.

He was “just the type of kid you would want in your program. He would do whatever you asked him to do. (He was) a great kid in school,” said Jerry Winterton, Cary High wrestling coach.

Mark Adams died at the age of 24 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.