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.

If you knew or served with this Airman and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
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:

 Photo Album   (More...

  1950, Basic Military Training (Lackland AFB, TX)
Basic Military Training (Lackland AFB, TX)

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Start Date 
Jan, 1950

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Last Updated:Aug 12, 2016
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  32 Also There at This Training:
Name Sqdn Flt Start Date
Barr, Russell, Lt Col, (1965-1991) 3704 4649 Jan, 1950
Bates, Earl Jack, TSgt, (1950-1970) 3735 Jan, 1950
Burchfield, James, SSgt, (1950-1971) 3700 4786 Jan, 1950
Carlson, William, SSgt, (1950-1972) 3702 4760 Jan, 1950
Cash, John R., SSgt, (1950-1954) Jan, 1950
Condra, Donald, Lt Col, (1950-1973) 3708 5101 Jan, 1950
Dean, Travis, SMSgt, (1950-1973) 6235 Jan, 1950
Highsmith, John Lewis, A1C, (1950-1953) Jan, 1950
Ikenberry, Donald D., A3C , (1950-1952) Jan, 1950
Johnson, Charles T., SMSgt, (1950-1972) Jan, 1950
Johnson, Lee, MSgt, (1951-1972) Jan, 1950
Leighton, Art, CWO4, (1950-1970) 3723 4770 Jan, 1950
Macias, Manuel, Maj, (1950-1970) Jan, 1950
Mason, Virgil, MSgt, (1950-1971) Jan, 1950
McCoy, Victor S., TSgt, (1950-1965) Jan, 1950
McMahon, William, SSgt, (1950-1954) Jan, 1950
Parker, D., A1C, (1950-1959) Jan, 1950
Plewes, Benjamin, A1C, (1950-1953) Jan, 1950
Strom, Wesley E., TSgt, (1950-1974) 3704 4649 Jan, 1950
Tucker, Charles, A1C, (1950-1953) 3700 Jan, 1950
Urich, Wayne, SSgt, (1950-1954) 3737 4654 Jan, 1950
Vierra, Stephen, CMSgt, (1950-1979) Jan, 1950
Zeilman, Jerome, A1C, (1950-1954) Jan, 1950
Zulli, Ralph, Pvt, (1950-1952) 3385 Jan, 1950
Hager, Argy, Maj, (1950-1970) Feb, 1950
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