Lance Cpl. Micah P. Adams said he never thought that as a rifleman heâ€™d be chosen to personally keep a chaplain safe from harm.
Adams, 22, from Orange County, Calif., finds himself in that exact situation after being chosen to be a chaplainâ€™s assistant for his second deployment with 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 5.
It is uncommon for a Marine to fill the role of a religious program specialist, but with the battalion, nicknamed â€œDarkside,â€ short on RPs, Adams was selected by Navy Lt. Michael A. Taylor. Taylor, a 38-year-old chaplain with 3/4, from Philadelphia, found Adams to be the best suited for the job over the other Marines within the battalion.
â€œWhat stood out to me was his forthrightness,â€ said Taylor. â€œHe didnâ€™t tell me what I wanted to hear.â€
Taylorâ€™s decision was solidified during pre-deployment training exercise Mojave Viper, where Taylor said he made note of Adamsâ€™ selflessness.
â€œHe was always willing to put people in front of him,â€ Taylor said. â€œHe sacrificed his time, his sleep and his food. Anything he has, heâ€™ll give up.â€
Adams has always been willing to take time out of his schedule to help his fellow Marines out, so that part of the job was easy. It was other facets of being a chaplainâ€™s assistant that forced Adams to change his routine and attitude.
â€œIn the beginning, I had to make adjustments from being in the field all the time to being in an office,â€ said Adams.
Adamsâ€™ modifications, originally, landed him playful banter from other infantrymen in the battalion. The teasing slowly went away as Marines witnessed that Adams still works hard.
â€œThey thought I wasnâ€™t going to be doing anything,â€ Adams said. â€œAfter Mojave Viper, they realized I do a lot more than they thought.â€
Adams helped the chaplain plan his ministry and classes around Marinesâ€™ schedules. He also kept a watchful eye on the chaplain during training and now in Iraq, but perhaps the most vital support he gives Taylor is as a link to the Marines in the battalion.
â€œMarines interact with Marines a whole lot differently than with sailors,â€ Taylor said. â€œMy ministry with India Company is better because of my chaplainâ€™s assistant. Heâ€™s the one who opened the door.â€
Adams has proved himself a valuable asset for Taylor thus far. Adams is now willing to advise the chaplain on anything that has to do with Marines.
â€œHeâ€™s taken a big step in putting critical input into what I do,â€ Taylor said. â€œHe is making me aware of anything out there that I can help.â€
Taylor and Adams have both impressed each other with their abilities. Adams said he was struck with how willing the chaplain is to interact with Marines, while Taylor commented that Adams is skillfully able to help him prepare everything for the Marines.
â€œItâ€™s been excellent, because this is where God has called us,â€ Taylor said. â€œWeâ€™ve bounced ideas off each other. I throw the ideas by him and he gives critical feedback and I make adjustments. That has been invaluable.â€
Despite their different military association, this pair is a match made in heaven.
By Cpl. Erik Villagan
Regimental Combat Team – 5