NORFOLK (NNS) -- USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) received an honorary visit June 21 when Greg “Snapper” Adams, an inspirational mentor and life-long naval aviation aficionado, visited the ship in her homeport of Norfolk.
Members of Adams’ family were present as he was provided a tour of the ship’s hangar bay, where he was able to witness firsthand many of the daily operations aboard Truman.
At the age of 49, Greg “Snapper” Adams has lived a life many would consider beyond his physical means. Adams was confined to a wheelchair after suffering a life-threatening injury in a 1975 football game, which rendered him quadriplegic.
Despite his injury, Adams has never allowed the obstacles in his life to prevent him from pursuing his dreams and ambitions.
“No matter what happens, you just have to keep moving forward, do the best you can and move on with life,” Adams said when speaking of his injury.
By the age of 18, Adams was already a nationally-ranked tennis star, having competed against such future professional tennis players as John McEnroe and Roscoe Tanner. His life dream was to attend the U.S. Naval Academy with the intention of one day flying Navy fighter jets. He was awaiting his interview for the Academy when he suffered his injury.
Adams was determined to continue living the active life he had always envisioned for himself, even if his condition put him at a disadvantage. His visit to Truman was one of the highlights of his life.
“It was a dream come true,” Adams said. “I didn’t realize how big it was or how much goes on here. It exceeded my expectations of what a carrier would be like.”
Adams said the highlight of his tour was when he was transported by elevator up to the ship’s flight deck, where he received an overview of how Truman’s aviation operations were performed. At one point in the tour, Cmdr. John Paganelli lined Adams up in the exact spot a jet would be on the flight deck as it prepared for takeoff. Adams said this was an experience he would not soon forget.
Adams, who has flown over 26 ‘dog-fighting’ flights with Air Combat USA and has completed numerous tandem sky-diving jumps, is no stranger to aviation. He said his visit aboard Truman only emphasized why flying is his favorite interest.
“Aviation is the ultimate experience,” Adams said. “It’s such a huge part of the military's defense, not to mention a great aspect for recruitment. I never dreamed I would get this close to an aircraft carrier, let alone receive a tour of one. It was an amazing experience.”
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