Marine trades civil duty for combat duty
By Sgt. T. L. Carter-Valrie
| 12th Marine Corps District | July 15, 2004
RECRUITING STATION SALT LAKE CITY, Utah --
Honor, courage, commitment--the values that are the core of every United States Marine.
"Whether active or reserve, you live the Marine Corps core values twenty-four, seven, 365. There is no reason or excuse to ever waiver from those values."
Such are the words and the heart of Chief Warrant Officer Kim T. Adamson, local Salt Lake City Marine in the Marine Corps Reserve, who recently made a challenging and courageous career move because of her passion and commitment to the Marine Corps.
Adamson, who has been in the Marine Corps Reserve since 1974, recently resigned from her position of the past seven years as a judge in the Salt Lake County Justice Court. All because of her belief and commitment to do her part for the Marine Corps by deploying to one of the deadliest areas of the world--Iraq.
"I now have an opportunity to complete that unfinished chapter of my Marine Corps career," said Adamson, "I have a warrior spirit and don't want to stay under the porch."
But those Marines who have known her throughout her career as a Marine may disagree with her by saying she has been anything, but "under the porch" when it comes to her commitment to the Marine Corps.
"Kim is a supremely dedicated Marine," explained Lt. Gen. Jack W. Klimp, retired and former Marine Corps Recruiting Command commanding general, "Her contributions to the Corps go far beyond what she did on recruiting duty in Salt Lake."
Adamson, in fact, has devoted her life to helping others. Carrying on traditions handed down to her from her hero, role model and best friend--her mother Shirley Thomas. Adamson said she instilled her spirit of volunteerism and philanthropy.
Growing up the daughter of a plutonium metallurgist, her family moved from Utah to the East Coast and then to Oklahoma where Adamson graduated high school. She soon returned to Utah and obtained a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science from Westminster College. She later returned to Westminster as a Masters of Professional Communications Graduate Student and now sits on the alumni board.
"Originally I had planned to join the Army or the Navy as a nurse. It was the height of the Vietnam War and I wanted to serve in either an Army MASH (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) unit or on a Navy hospital ship," she said.
However, the war ended before Adamson had the opportunity to fulfill that plan which in turn led her to the Marine Corps reserves, the service she had really wanted to be a part of all along.
"At that time there were only about 2,500 women in the Marine Corps and I had to write and essay on why I wanted to be a Marine and why the Marine Corps should grant me the privilege to enlist," Adamson said. "It was worth it and I have never regretted it."
While working as a civilian police officer in Salt Lake City, she was assigned as a recruiter's assistant in the early 80's.
"Kim performed superbly in this capacity," added Klimp, who was the recruiting station commanding officer at the time.
Adamson applied for and became a warrant officer, which in turn led her back to the recruiting community as the recruiting support officer, a billet she held for nearly a decade while constantly and selflessly promoting the Marine Corps and helping the recruiting mission.
"While I was commanding general of Marine Corps Recruiting Command, Kim had a hot air balloon produced that looked like the Marine Corps bulldog mascot. She called it Chesty and moved it all over the country where it participated in numerous events," recalled Klimp. "Whenever it appeared at an event, Kim and her team coordinated with the local Marine recruiters so they could take advantage of the free advertising and meet the folks who were drawn to it."
Adamson also had a red Hummer that she personally owned. She used to loan it to the recruiters for parades, static displays and enhanced area canvassing events.
"We would just slap magnetic Marine Corps stickers on the doors," chuckled Adamson.
Her idea was a hit with the Marine Corps Recruiting Command and set the stage for red hummers to be used at recruiting stations throughout the nation.
Her devotion didn't end there, she arranged for noncommissioned officer-in-charge pistol shoots at the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office range and for Marines and their families to attend a Family Day at Lagoon Amusement Park every Labor Day in which recruiters could benefit with a Marine Corps Chin-up challenge.
"I used every contact I could to introduce the Marines and get them involved in community events," Adamson said. "The Marine Corps received a lot of positive media coverage over the years."
She also began, and currently sponsors, the "Shop with a Marine" program at Christmas where Marines in dress blues escort battered mothers and their children for a shopping spree at Wal-mart. In the spring, she does a spring clean up for the elderly program where Marines volunteer their time to help senior citizens clean up their yards and homes.
"She does so many good things, she is really looked favorable on by the community," said SSgt. Jeremy J. Gabrielson, noncommissioned officer-in-charge Recruiting Substation Provo.
It is her extreme Marine presence, however, that really causes people to appreciate the Marine Corps.
"I think her biggest contribution is that she helps out so much in the community and everyone knows she is in the Marine Corps, so they equate the kind of person she is with how Marines are," said Gabrielson. "From judges and politicians to the little guy on the street, she always sets a good example."
According to Klimp, her contributions can be seen as far up the chain to the research center in Quantico, Va. where Adamson quietly donated the funding for the "Hall of the Commandants" which is decorated with portraits of Commandants, mounted and framed with silver, glass and jade.
"The Marine Corps asked Kim what it could do for her in appreciation, and her response was to allow her to attend the full program at the Basic School," Klimp said. "As a warrant officer she had attended the warrant officer course at TBS, which was shorter than what the lieutenants experience. All she wanted was to complete the ‘full’ course."
For now, though, her contribution focus has changed. Deploying with the 4th Civil Affairs Group in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II, she will now set her sights on helping improve the quality of life for the Iraqi people.
Although she is leaving a community somewhat saddened by her decision to resign her civil duties, they proudly and gratefully stand behind her courageous endeavor.
"It should come as no surprise that she has resigned her position as a judge to deploy to Iraq," stated Klimp proudly. "Kim is a patriot. Kim is a United States Marine."
The Marine Corps and all it's honors and traditions live deep within Adamson's soul, especially when asked what she thought her greatest accomplishment has been. She said it has to be the birth of her daughter Anne who coincidently was born on November 10.