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On Thursday, October 28, 2010, U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Adam L. Dickmyer, 26, was killed in action near Kandahar, Afghanistan while serving as a Platoon Sergeant with 3rd Platoon, Attack Company, 2nd Battalion, 502d Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team in the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).
Adam was born to Stephanie (Myer) and David Dickmyer on February 2, 1984 in York, Pennsylvania. He spent the first eight years of his childhood in York County, Pennsylvania before moving with his family to North Carolina. He graduated in 2002 from Carver High School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina where he was an active participant of the U.S. Army Reserve Officers Training Corps Drill Team and shortly thereafter, enlisted for service in the U.S. Army. He completed Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Benning, Georgia during which time many of his superiors saw the leadership potential that Adam possessed.
In 2003, he was selected to serve as part of the Army's official ceremonial unit and escort to the President of the United States known as the "˜The Old Guard.' The Old Guard is the Army's oldest and most elite active infantry regiment, dating back to 1784. Soldiers selected to serve in this premier unit are hand selected, with an attrition rate of over 80% because of the stringent discipline and standards that are upheld by this decorous regiment. Adam's duties as a member of the Old Guard included providing security for Washington D.C. in times of national emergency or civil disturbance, conducting military ceremonies at the White House, Pentagon, National Memorials and elsewhere in the nation's capital, and providing military funeral escorts at Arlington National Cemetery.
In 2004, he was assigned to Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia and served there for three years as the Commander of the Relief for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, guarding the Tomb and training others for the most prestigious honor an Army Soldier can bestow. Adam was also promoted to the position of the Assistant Sergeant of the Guard, which is the second highest ranking position that can be held in this assignment. He also served as the official "˜Voice of the Old Guard' in audio guided tours of Arlington Cemetery. During this time, Adam was again recognized for his leadership and outstanding service by those around him including author, Robert M. Poole, who interviewed Adam for his book, "˜On Hallowed Ground: The Story of Arlington National Cemetery'. He was also decorated with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Badge (Badge #528), a prestigious badge received by fewer recipients than the Congressional Medal of Honor. It is one of the least issued badges of the Army, second only to the Astronaut Badge, given only to those very few in uniform who have completed a successful spaceflight.
"We take it one step further because we are so visible," said Staff Sergeant Adam L. Dickmyer, one of three relief commanders for the Tomb Guard. "Thousands of people see us every day"”more come here than go to the Jefferson Memorial"”so we want to make the best possible impression. And we want the guys who sacrificed everything to know that they are still remembered, that someone still cares. That's why we do it." – Excerpt from On Hallowed Ground
During his time serving in the Old Guard, Adam met and fell in love with his wife Melinda ("Mindy") Randall Dickmyer and they were married in 2007. They considered Cherrydale Baptist Church in Arlington, Virginia their church family and regularly attended services there together. As they began their life together, Adam quickly introduced Mindy to his love for running and the outdoors"”especially hiking, camping and sailing. In fact, Adam dreamed of retiring one day in Key West and getting his own sailboat. Those who loved Adam could regularly find him reading, enjoying a good Dogfish Head microbrew, singing along to Jimmy Buffet tunes, attending concerts, training for the Army Ten Miler, playing interactive video games or enjoying the gourmet delicacies that Mindy would prepare for him.
In 2007, Adam was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, Echo Company where he served as the Casket Team Leader for the Joint Services State Funeral Team for two years. He was personally selected to be the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of the entire detail comprised of the most elite servicemembers from the other branches of the Armed Forces. While in this position, Adam participated in the inauguration of President Obama, served in the Armed Forces Full Honors Arrival Ceremonies at the White House for visiting Heads of State from Italy, Ghana, Korea and even Pope Benedict XVI. For the past several years, Adam served in key leadership positions at each Memorial and Veterans Day Presidential Wreath-Laying Ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and in the Twilight Tattoo at Fort McNair. In August 2010, Adam was selected to serve as the Joint Services State Funeral Casket Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge for the funeral of Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA).
Seeking to further develop professionally, Adam enrolled in Troy University to pursue his Bachelors of Science degree in Business Administration with a Management concentration. He had plans of pursuing his MBA and becoming an Officer in the Army. As part of this career development journey, he also had the desire to serve oversees in combat so that he could be the best possible leader to the Soldiers serving under his direction. With this in mind, in November 2009 Adam was assigned to the elite 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) based out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky which appropriately is one of the most prestigious and decorated Divisions in the Army.
Just 7 months after settling in at Fort Campbell, Adam deployed to Afghanistan as a Weapons Squad Leader. His leadership and competence made an immediate impact on his squad and platoon and he quickly became a "˜go to' leader in the company. Adam's Company Commander, Captain David Forsha had the foresight to attest to Adam's leadership abilities: "By the time we deployed, I knew SSG Dickmyer was fully capable of leading his squad in combat. Within a few weeks, I would come to realize he was ready to lead a platoon. In June, SSG Dickmyer was selected to serve as the Platoon Sergeant for 3rd Platoon, and he excelled in one of the most coveted positions a Non-Commissioned Officer can hold." He rapidly adjusted to the new position, and embraced the challenge and opportunity to help shape and influence the platoon. He led his platoon with honor, knowing the possible sacrifice that might be made. He excelled in his new position, his motivation and energy fueled his men. In his last days, Adam made history by leading his platoon to the Arghandab River, a feat no unit had accomplished. He died while leading his men into this important, but uncharted terrain.
His awards and decorations include: Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal with six oak leaf clusters, Army Good Conduct Medal – second award, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Non Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon – second award, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization International Security Assistance Force Medal. In addition, Adam also earned several distinguished badges of honor including the Army Superior Unit Citation, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Marksmanship Qualification Badge- Expert, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Badge (Badge #528).
Adam impacted the lives of everyone who knew him. He was an amazing husband, son, brother, friend, leader and Soldier. His legacy will live on forever by the family, friends and Soldiers he impacted, like Private First Class Michael Young who shared some memories of Adam at the Unit's Memorial Service in Afghanistan for Adam:
"I looked up to SSG D like a brother. He was more than I could dream of as a role model-- always pushing me mentally, physically, personally, and professionally. SSG Dickmyer is 95% of the reason I'm here and successful today. In my worst times, when I was just ready to leave the platoon and the Army, he spent countless hours of his time, whether he had the time or not, to talk sense to me and get me to stay." - Private First Class Michael Young
Adam is survived by his beloved wife of three years, Melinda (Randall) Dickmyer of Arlington, VA; father David Dickmyer of Winston Salem, NC; mother Stephanie Dickmyer of Lutz, FL; sister Erica Dickmyer of Winston-Salem, NC; grandmother, Nancy L. Dickmyer of Spring Grove, PA; grandparents Robert and Linda Myers of Lutz, FL; and many aunts, uncles and cousins. Memorial contributions may be sent to the following address: Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, c/o SSG Adam L. Dickmyer Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 1111, Hermitage, PA 16148.