BEATRICE – A Gage County man who fought in the Vietnam War and suffered the effects of chemical exposure, was honored by Gage County officials Wednesday for his service to the nation.

Earl Adam served in the U.S. Army from 1970 to the end of 1971, awarded six medals as an infantryman. The rural Odell resident was drafted and shipped off from California to Vietnam. His first days images included seeing critically injured soldiers…and then he became part of a five-man team pulling guard duty and going on patrols.

"Kind of scary, especially at night while on guard duty...there's only five of us and every two hours, we pulled a shift. There's always lizards and wild pigs and stuff running around in the jungle, which in the dark, you didn't know what would happen, next. A couple of the guys that were with of them had been there four years. He was dusted off on a Cobra gunship on Hamburger Hill, the summer before. I think there was 142 G-Is killed, trying to take that hill."

Adam says his five-member group would go out on twelve-day missions. He carried a machine gun with about 15-hundred rounds. Adam figures he went from one end of Vietnam to the other while he was there…and was exposed to defoliant use to clear areas…including agent orange.

He said by the Spring of 1970, some 20-million gallons of defoliant had been sprayed over Vietnam and bordering areas of Laos and Cambodia.
"I served my country and was proud to do so, but unfortunately, in '18, I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma....cancer as a result of the agent orange. So now, I do a weekly infusion of chemotherapy for the rest of my life...and both of my children had bone issues when they were born....which I think, was related to the agent orange."

Through it all, Adam says he has no regrets…..and said it was just an honor to serve the country.  "I felt fortunate that I was able to come home...because there were 58,000 that didn't."

Adam was presented a plaque and some gifts by the Gage County Board…part of an ongoing program to remember the dedication of area residents who defended their nation.