Adams, Michael James, Maj

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
2865-Experimental Test Pilot
Last AFSC Group
Primary Unit
1966-1967, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Service Years
1950 - 1967

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Sgt Stephen Willcox to remember Adams, Michael James, Maj.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Last Address
Johannesburg, CA

Date of Passing
Nov 15, 1967
Location of Interment
Mulhearn Memorial Park Cemetery - Monroe, Louisiana
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
In the Line of Duty
  2014, In the Line of Duty

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
"The tragic accident that took Mike Adams life occurred on November 15, 1967, during the 191st flight of the X-15 program. It was the first suborbital mission for Adams, who already had completed six atmospheric flights in the famed rocket plane. Adams was flying the third of three X-15s build by North American Aviation in Inglewood. It was the same airplane in which eight of the twelve X-15 project pilots earned their astronaut qualifications. Adams' accident was the only fatal mishap during the decade-long program."  Source:

Major Adams "seventh X-15 flight, flight 3-65-97, took place on 15 November 1967. He reached the peak altitude of 266,000 feet; the nose of the aircraft was off heading by 15 degrees to the right. While descending, at 230,000 feet the aircraft encountered rapidly increasing aerodynamic pressure which impinged on the airframe, causing the X-15 to enter a violent Mach 5 spin. As the X-15 neared 65,000 feet, it was diving a Mach 3.93 and experiencing more that 15-g vertically (positve and negative), and 8-g laterally, which inevitably exceeded the design limits of the aircraft. The aircraft broke up 10 minutes and 35 seconds after launch, killing Adams. The United States Air Force posthumously awarded him the Purple Heart and astronaut wings for his last flight." Source:

Other Comments:
Michael James Adams entered the Air Force in 1950 after graduation from Sacramento Junior College with an AA Degree in Forestry. After Basic Training a Lackland AFB, he served with the 3501st Pilot Training program as a Link Training instructor until he was selected as an Aviation Cadet. He received his primary training at Spence Field, Georgia and advanced training at Webb Air Force Base in Texas. After returning from Korea in 1954 he spent 2 or so years in England and on a rotational basis at Chaumont Air Base in France. After returning to the U.S. he earned an aeronautical engineering degree in 1958 and did graduate work at MIT. After a stint as a Maintenance Officer at Chanute AFB,  he "was selected in 1962 for the Experimental Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Here, he won the Honts Trophy as the best scholar and pilot in his class. Adams subsequently attended the Aerospace Research Pilot School (ARPS), graduating with honors in December 1963. He was one of four Edwards aerospace research pilots to participate in a five-month series of NASA moon landing practice tests at the Martin Company in Baltimore, Maryland. In November, 1965 he was selected to be an astronaut in the United States Air Force Manned Orbiting Laboratory program. In July 1966, Major Adams came to the North American X-15 program, a joint USAF/NASA project. He made his first X-15 flight on 6 October 1966 in the number one aircraft." Source:

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  1952-1953, Air Training Command

First Lieutenant
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April / 1953
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Last Updated: Mar 24, 2010
Memories For This Unit

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32 Members Also There at Same Time
Air Training Command

Allen, Jesse Milton, Maj Gen, (1943-1974) [Other Service Rank]
Conn, Harold, A2C, (1949-1952) [Other Service Rank]
Rogers, Turner Clifton, Maj Gen, (1936-1966) Brigadier General
Toland, Butler Bell, Lt Col, (1941-1968) Captain
De Soto, Ernest Leo, Col, (1953-1969) Second Lieutenant
Fitzgerald, Woodrow Melvin, Capt, (1953-1963) Second Lieutenant
Forshey, Robert Ernest, Maj, (1951-1968) Second Lieutenant
Freeman, Earl Marvin Jr., Maj, (1948-1967) Second Lieutenant
Loeschner, Theodore R., Maj, (1946-1965) Second Lieutenant
Mearns, Arthur Stewart, Col, (1952-1966) Second Lieutenant
Stair, Wilbur Thomas, Maj, (1950-1967) Second Lieutenant
Frink, Robert, CMSgt, (1941-1968) Technical Sergeant
Nelson, Rollin, SSgt, (1951-1955) Airman 1st Class
Eckert, Edwin, TSgt, (1953-1973) Airman 3rd Class
Mrizek, Emil August, Lt Col, (1935-1955) M65 M 0659 [Other Service Rank]
Bryan, Donald Septimus, Lt Col, (1942-1964) 01 Lieutenant Colonel
Bankey, Ernest Edward, Col, (1941-1968) 102 1021A Major
Crenshaw, Claude James, Lt Col, (1942-1965) M10 M 1055 Captain
Page, Lewis Anderson, Capt, (1942-1953) 11 Captain
Shivers, Clarence Laudric, Lt Col, (1943-1969) M10 M 1051 Captain
Aldrin, Buzz, Col, (1947-1972) M27 M 0273 Second Lieutenant
Day, George Everett, Col, (1942-1977) M10 M 1055 Second Lieutenant
Wood, Patrick Hardy, Col, (1952-1967) M10 M 1021 Second Lieutenant
McComas, Cleo W, CMSgt, (1948-1972) 704 70490 Chief Master Sergeant
Levine, Marshall, SSgt, (1951-1955) M55 M 0552 Staff Sergeant
Powell, Gary, SSgt, (1952-1956) 323 32350 Staff Sergeant
Stitzel, John, SSgt, (1951-1955) 647 647XX Staff Sergeant
Beyl, Huey, A1C, (1950-1953) M17 M 0174 Airman 1st Class
Ford, David Edward, Lt Col, (1953-1985) 321 32170 Airman 2nd Class
Anderson, Archie, SMSgt, (1953-1975) 321 32130E Airman 3rd Class
Guinn, William Francis, A1C, (1953-1961) 431 43131F Airman Basic
Buroff, Stuart Walter, CMSgt, (1950-1979) [Other Service Rank]

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