Lt. Colonel Paul Adams: Biography
Born in Greenville, S.C., he began a distinguished military career in the Air Force and became a fighter pilot for the Tuskegee airmen in World War II. He flew with the 332nd Fighter Group, an African-American unit, also known as the “Red Tail” group for their distinctive aircraft paint scheme. The group established the unprecedented record of flying more than 1,500 missions in Europe and North Africa. Col. Adams’ career saw nine major campaigns and he received the Commendation Medal with three Oak Leaf clusters.
When he retired from the Air Force, Adams began his teaching career at Lincoln High. He was one of three black teachers in Lincoln Public Schools when he started teaching in 1964. He taught industrial arts at Lincoln High until 1982, when he retired from school but not from teaching and serving his community.
Adams was a member of the Capital City Kiwanis for many years. Through Kiwanis, he organized a Builders Club at East High School and served as a “Grandpa” at Elliott Elementary School. He was past president of the Lincoln NAACP and an associate of the Retired Officers Association. He and Alda, his wife of 67 years, were also active members in their church.
In April 2007 he received the Congressional Bronze Medal for his contribution as a “guardian angel” in World War II. The name “Guardian Angel” was a term of respect given by the white airmen who were escorted by the African-American pilots.
Lt. Col. Adams has had a tremendous impact on our country, state, and city. Adams and the other Tuskegee Airmen, though segregated from the “white” units, served their country faithfully, flying many successful missions. Adams continued to help desegregation efforts when he came to Lincoln and was one of only three black teachers in the District. In retirement, he continued to serve his community. He is an example to all of us and is very deserving of having a school named after him.
Lt. Col Paul Adams passed away on June 30th, 2013.
Click to watch the Paul Adams video.
Click to watch the Paul Adams Slide Show.