Steven Harold Adams
Master Sergeant
United States Air Force
Spencer, Iowa
September 25, 1944 to July 18, 1973
(Incident Date October 18, 1966)
STEVEN H ADAMS is on the Wall at Panel 11E, Line 85

Steven H Adams
7thaf.gif FAIRGROUP-ARRS.png 33rdarrs.gif

10 Nov 2002


From one who wears his MIA bracelet,
David Heptinstall,
Senior Airman, USAF

13 Oct 2004

I am would like everyone to know MSgt Adams is now on his 3rd tour in SouthWest Asia on my wrist. So far nothing more than a scratch has come to me. Even though the bracelet gets hot and burns my wrist, it serves to remind me that there are people that have suffered far worse at the hands of our enemies. Keep us all in your thoughts and prayers.

Duty is the sublimest word in the language.
You can never do more than your duty.
You should never wish to do less.
- Robert E. Lee -

Keepin' up the Fight!!

David Heptinstall
SSgt, USAF, Security Forces

14 Nov 2003

I miss my cousin Steven Adams a lot and he's always in my memory and thoughts. He did a great job in the Air Force, at least he knew what he was doing all the time. I wish he had come back alive from North Vietnam so that I had a chance to thank him and to meet him. I do have his MIA bracelet. I wear it all the time. I think about him a lot. I bet his family is missing him like I do. At least he had a chance to go into the Air Force as he wanted to do. When I look at his MIA bracelet I think of my cousin Steven. He should be honored on special holidays.

I wish I could tell him that he did a great job in the Air Force. No one should forget the veterans especially my cousin, Steven Adams. When I heard that he was missing I knew that something was wrong. I'm having a tough time since he's gone. I can't believe he's gone, but not in my memory or his family's. I hope some day that I will meet his family and brother Bruce Adams.

his cousin
Michelle Adams
from Oshkosh, Wisconsin

10 Aug 2004

You are not forgotten, our thoughts will always be with you.

From one who wears his MIA bracelet,
MSgt R W Cook, USMC/USMCR Retired

10 Oct 2004

I am proud to wear his MIA bracelet, and to tell everyone who he is so they can remember and respect him.

Steven M. Cherubino
C/MSgt, Civil Air Patrol

3 Dec 2004

To my good friend, my pal.
I will always remember our friendship.

From one very good friend,
Jon Arthur Sigsby
457 Harr Drive Apt A, Midwest City, Oklahoma, 73110

15 Dec 2004

Of every one hundred men (in battle),
Ten shouldn't even be there,
Eighty are nothing but mere targets,
Nine are real fighters ...
we are lucky to have them ...
they the battle make -
Ah, but the one, one of them is a WARRIOR...
and he will bring the others back.
Hericletus, 500 BC

From a very good friend,
Jon A. Sigsby
33rd ARRS 1961-1966

26 Dec 2004

All of us who knew Steve were devastated when he was listed as missing. Steve, thirteen others, and I were Pararescue School classmates. We graduated on 15 Feb 1966, received our first assignments, and scattered around the world. I was stationed in Thailand, doing the Laos and North Vietnam combat rescue coverage in HH-3E helicopters, when Steve and his crew disappeared near Tiger Island off the Vietnam coast. I knew I had lost a brother. Over the years, I can't tell you how many times I've seen someone in a crowd, who for an instant looked just like Steve. I still see him in crowds. We all miss Steve very much. God bless Steve Adams.

From a Pararescue School classmate,
Chuck Hassler, CMSgt USAF (Ret)
E-mail address is not available.

17 Aug 2005

I wear Steven's POW/MIA bracelet daily and I will not part with it until he returns to American soil. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.

MSgt Brian Williams, USAF
Scott AFB, Il

05 Oct 2005

As a 14 year veteran of the United States Air Force, Active Duty and currently in the Michigan Air National Guard, as both a Secruity Policeman (after washing out of PJ School) and now as a Aerospace Medical Specialist, it gives me great honor to share my name as one of MSgt Adams's "brothers in uniform" who wears his name on our wrists. After spending a long emotional morning at Arlington National Cemetery during a recent vacation to DC, I ended up at the Vietnam Memorial and purchased this wristband from the "Rolling Thunder" booth... what made me select MSgt Adams? First he IS a fellow Airman; second, like myself he is enlisted; and third, he is a PJ - an AFSC that I boldly attempted and yet failed to obtain but still hold as the single most honorable career field in the Air Force - "So that others may live" is a motto that should be tattoed on every airman's, soldier's, Marine's, sailor's, and Coast Guardsman's heart - for while we aren't all PJ's it is what we all strive to do in one way or another.

TSgt Lawrence N. Grabinski
110th Medical Group ACC

23 Jun 2006

I have worn Master Sergeant Steven H. Adams' bracelet since 1988. Steven's young life was taken by serving his country and dedicating himself to the freedom of the United States of America. A memorial to Steven has been on my wrist through marriage, children, and a career. He is remembered by me daily with the bracelet serving as a symbol for what he gave to me and our country and the loss faced by his family.

Amy Mosher

20 Sep 2007

I have worn MSgt Adam's bracelet since I joined the Air Force in 1990. It has accompanied me on 4 tours in the Middle East and will be with me as I leave for my 5th tour. He was with me when I was wounded by an IED in August 04.

I will continue to wear this bracelet until he is found and brought back to the great state of Iowa. I know he was a great Airman, American, Iowan and friend.

From MIA bracelet wearer,
MSgt Bryan C. Larson, USAF

11 Nov 2007

I have had Steve's bracelet since the mid 60's.
Pararescuemen, Corpsmen, and Medics are the unsung heroes of any war.
Thank you, Steve, and God bless his family.

Stephen C. Richman

17 Apr 2008

As a military wife, for almost 20 years and a PJ wife for seven of those years, I know Steven was a dedicated soldier. I proudly wear his bracelet! Men like Steven took that oath, "that others may live". Thank God for him, and God bless him. He will forever be a part of my life.

Amanda Jolee Nelson


Notes from The Virtual Wall

While it is clear that a USAF HU-16 Albatross (serial 51-7145) went down offshore North Vietnam on 18 Oct 1966, there is conflicting information with respect to exactly what happened. The twin-engined, fixed-wing Albatross, an amphibious aircraft capable of landing on water or runway, was crewed by Except for John Shoneck and Steven Adams the crewmen were from the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, based at Danang. Shoneck was an HH-53 helicopter mechanic assigned to the 38th ARRS, also at Danang, while Adams was assigned to the 33rd ARRS and on temporary duty with the 37th ARRS.

Chris Hobson's authoritative work "Vietnam Air Losses" gives the following account of the loss:

"An Albatross amphibian took off from Da Nang in poor weather for a patrol over the Gulf of Tonkin. Using the call sign CROWN BRAVO, a name that was assigned to the afternoon patrol of each day, the aircraft encountered worsening weather and failed to make a routine radio report. As soon as the weather cleared enough a second Albatross left Da Nang to search for Maj Angstadt's aircraft. The Albatross was joined by Navy ships and aircraft but no trace of the aircraft or of its crew was ever found. The aircraft's last known position was about 40 miles off Dong Hoi [a North Vietnam coastal town a bit north of the DMZ] and it was suspected that the aircraft was lost due to extreme weather rather than enemy action." (Hobson, p.78)
The Jolly Green Organization ("JOLLY GREEN" was the Vietnam nickname for the USAF SAR helicopters) carries the following note on 51-7145:
"The aircraft was on a SAR orbit north of the DMZ and reported to a Navy ship he was returning to his home station, Danang. This was the last contact with the aircraft and no trace of the aircraft or crew was ever found." (
The POW Network and Task Force Omega sites carry a more complex story. In summary, the two sites report that the HU-16
  • Was from the 33rd ARRS.
  • Was on a SAR mission to pick up a downed aircrew about 80 miles off the China coast in the northern part of the Gulf of Tonkin.
  • Was escorted by "two A1E Skyhawks", which parted company with the Albatross after a successful SAR pick-up.
  • Last made radio contact at "5:45 p.m." or "1745 hours" (the same time), although Task Force Omega goes on to say that "At 2231 hours, all contact was lost with the amphibious aircraft".
There are some mis-statements in both the POW Network and TFO summaries that call into question the other undocumented statements made in the biographic reports:
  • The 33rd ARRS was based at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, not at Da Nang. Both Hobson and the Jolly Greens assign the aircraft to the 37th ARRS, Danang. USAF casualty records indicate only Adams was associated with the 33rd ARRS, and he was TDY to the 37th ARRS.
  • TFO says that the Albatross was "capable of making vertical recoveries on land or over water" and of course it was not. As a fixed-wing amphibian it could land on water but it certainly couldn't hover for a vertical recovery.
  • Both sites say the Albatross was escorted by "A1E Skyhawks"; the A-1 Skyraider (USN/USAF) and the A-4 Skyhawk (USN/USMC) are two very different aircraft.
  • Both sites state that the last radio contact was made at 5:45/1745 hours but TFO implies that other contact (radio? radar?) continued for nearly five hours after 1745.
  • Both sites indicate a successful SAR pick-up but then dismiss the absence of any personnel aboard the HU-16 other than its crew. The POW Network simply says "There is no available information on the downed crewman the Albatross was sent to rescue." while TFO says "Because there is no record of the identity of the pilot recovered during this missing, it is believed he was a member of an allied force". No other US aircraft went down over the Gulf of Tonkin on 18 Oct 1966, and no allied (i.e., South Vietnamese) air operations were conducted in the northern Gulf of Tonkin.
Overall, it appears that the HU-16 was on a routine SAR patrol offshore Route Package 1 in North Vietnam and that it went down due to weather conditions. What is uncontested is that seven Air Force aircrewmen were lost.

The UH-16 crew received promotions during the period they were maintained Missing in Action: Angstadt and Rackley were promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel; Long to the rank of Captain; Clark and Hill to the rank of Chief Master Sergeant; Shoneck to the rank of Senior Master Sergeant; and Adams to the rank of Master Sergeant.

On 18 July 1973, the Secretary of the Air Force approved Presumptive Findings of Death for all seven men. Their remains have not been repatriated.

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