To support and defend
Published 8:28 am Wednesday, August 13, 2003
Local man in Iraq
By Connie Nowlin Managing editor
Benjamin Adams served six years in the Air Force and finished his obligation in September 2002. But when he got the chance to work as civilian support personnel, he took it.
Adams is what is known as a civilian contractor for intelligence and is serving in and around Baghdad where he has been since April, supporting the 4th Infantry Division out of Fort Bliss, Texas.
His mother, the former Glenda Lamb of Walnut Hill, is not new to military life. Her husband, Timothy Adams, has been a reservist, and was called to active duty in January. He has been traveling all over the southeast, training units and preparing them for action in Iraq.
But with son Benjamin, it is a little different, because his work is so sensitive.
"We only talk by email. I have a lot of questions that I can't ask, that he can't answer," she said.
As a civilian, Benjamin Adams does not wear a uniform as such, but wears protective gear and carries heavy weapons.
His emails home illustrate a lot of what is going on in the war-ravaged nation. One of the first emails tells of being at one of the palaces along the Euphrates River, and trying to go to sleep to the sounds of gunfire and explosions. The emails often make reference to occurrences that he can't talk about, but that his family may be able to garner more information on from cable news programs.
As Adam's stay in Iraq continued, he wrote of attacks on the very camp where he was staying.
"I can not even describe what it feels like to wake up to the sounds of explosions coming closer and closer and closer. One [grenade] landed within 500 feet of where I was sleeping, way too close for comfort. It was so close I could feel the blast."
He goes on to recount the capture of millions of dollars of gold bars, and joked about seeing some of them sitting in the operations center. Adams and others kidded one another about ways to snatch a bar of gold, but they were far too heavy.
The jokes all ended with Adams' next email, in which he recounts a grenade strike within 25 feet and the death of three men in his unit.
He tells of an Iraqi who had been selling ice to the troops, but turned out to be a spy that was in reality trying to poison the Americans. At that point, Adams asked for powdered drink mixes like lemonade and treats like cookies for himself and the troops.
An email from July talks of his exhaustion, and mortar attacks.
But the end is in sight for Adams. He is expected to process out of his contract at the end of August. He will be returning to the United States, set to go to Fort Bliss. As it turns out, his father is expected to be at that facility at the same time, so the two can spend some time together.
The family hopes to see Benjamin in the Atmore area soon after his arrival back on U.S. soil.
His grandmother is Charlotte Lamb of Walnut Hill and his uncle is Chester Lamb of Atmore.