7/30/2009 - KANSAS CITY, Kan. (ACCNS) --
As a 21-gun salute rang throughout Chapel Hill Memorial Cemetery, the sound could only mean one thing--a Vietnam War veteran, who had been missing in action for more than 40 years, was finally home to rest in, July 27, 2009.
Active duty members, retirees and their families gathered at Chief Master Sgt. Quincy Adam's final resting place to pay their respects. Among them was Staff Sgt Adam Blankenship, nephew of Chief Adam.
"It's been a long road for our family waiting for this type of closure," said Sergeant Blankenship, 436th Security Forces Squadron, Dover Air Force Base, Del. "I received the news while deployed to Afghanistan, and it really redefined the pride that I have in serving our country."
In keeping with tradition, the Whiteman Air Force Base Honor Guard gathered its entire fleet to ensure a proper and honorable military funeral was carried out for the late Chief Adam and his family.
"Today is a good day," said Tech. Sgt. Dave Giberson, Whiteman Air Force Base Honor Guard non-commissioned officer in charge. "One of our own has been brought home; we've practiced long and hard for this day, so let's go out there and do what we do best."
As the funeral commenced and respects were paid, a Vietnam era C-130, flyover was performed by Maj. Joshua Peterson and his 62nd alumni crew from Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark.
After the 21 gun salute had been fired, Honor Guard leader Master Sgt. Gregory Giles presented Kenneth Adam, father of Chief Adam with a folded American flag on behalf of the United States for all his son sacrificed for his country.
"The feeling of handing over that folded flag was like nothing I've experienced in my 21 years of performing in the honor guard," said Sergeant Giles. "The fact that his son passed away before him while serving his country made my feelings that much more overwhelming. I was honored to perform such a service to say the least, and proud to have been a part of a very important funeral."
Chief Adam served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War as a C-130 Hercules loadmaster. Growing up, Chief Adam wanted nothing more than to fly, so joining the Air Force was only natural for him.
As the United States moved forward with efforts in Vietnam, Chief Adam, at the time Airman 1st Class, and the rest of his crew got the call letting them know they were needed in Asia. Without hesitation, Airman Adam and the rest of the crew set off to war in their C-130 "Blind Bat 01."
Airman Adam and his crew carried out a regularly scheduled night flair drop mission over eastern Laos, adjacent to the northern-most provinces of South Vietnam near the infamous Ho Chi Minh Trail. The trail was used by the Communists to transport weapons, supplies and troops from North Vietnam into South Vietnam, a was a crucial target for U.S. forces.
As Airman Adam and his crew continued their routine mission, orbiting the target area, "Blind Bat 01" made its last radio contact with the airborne mission command and control center at 8:30p.m., May 22, 1968. By 9:15 p.m. "Blind Bat 01" still could not be reached and another C-130, "Blind Bat 02", was dispatched to search for the missing aircraft.
While searching, "Blind Bat 02" saw a large fire on the battlefield below, this was later deemed to be the wreckage of "Blind bat 01." The entire crew, including Airman Adam, were listed MIA.
After 40 years, Chief Adam's remains were discovered in Southeast Asia, and he was brought home to Kansas City to rest.
"It's such a relief to finally have this closure," said Kenneth Adam. "I've waited and prayed for this moment to come every day for the past 30 years, and now that's its finally here I can rejoice and rest easy knowing that my son is home."