Rear Adm. Sandra Adams grew up in Okemos, Michigan and graduated from Michigan State University in 1978. She received her commission in 1981 from Officer Candidate School and, subsequently, completed the Surface Warfare Officer School Basic course in Newport, Rhode Island.
Her first tour was aboard USS Puget Sound (AD 38) homeported in Italy as 6th Fleet flagship. She served as the damage control assistant and earned her surface warfare officer designation.
Adams transitioned to the Navy Reserve (NR) in 1986 serving with NR Shore Intermediate Maintenance Activity Detachment 219, Long Beach, Calif. In 1990, she transferred to Mobile Inshore Undersea Warfare Unit 105. The unit was recalled to active duty and deployed to Saudi Arabia for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm where it provided harbor security for the U.S. Army’s logistics seaport.
She served as the commanding officer of five units to include the USS Bolster (ARS 38) Reserve unit; Mobile Inshore Undersea Warfare Unit 203; NR Naval Beach Group One Det. 119; NR Commander, Naval Forces Japan; and, NR U.S. Pacific Command Det. 120.
Adams has served on numerous operational staff positions including at Naval Coastal Warfare Group One; NR Navy Command Center Det. 106; NR Commander, Naval Forces Korea Headquarters; and, U.S. Joint Forces Command.
In 2010, she mobilized in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan. Based in Kabul, she served as the senior advisor to an Afghan minister of defense lieutenant general and his staff. Her first flag assignment was as the Reserve deputy commander, Navy Region Midwest and was selected for her current assignment as the deputy commander, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command as of October 2012.
Adams is a full joint-qualified officer and a CAPSTONE Graduate. She earned her master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College in 2003.
Her personal decorations include the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal (3 awards), Meritorious Service Medal (2 awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3 awards), and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medal (3 awards).