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Injured Marine to retire, return home to West Hall

POSTED: September 9, 2013 12:50 a.m.

Lance Cpl. Sean Adams’ days are waning in his beloved U.S. Marine Corps, with his planned retirement later this month marking a “more bitter than sweet” transition to civilian life.

He’s considering a future in racing, “but I’ll never find anything to give me the spark that the Marine Corps has given me,” said the 2011 Chestatee High School graduate who lost his legs to a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

A retirement ceremony at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., will officially end what had been dreams of military life.

Adams began the pursuit while still in high school in northwest Hall County, when, according to his parents, he would strap on a 60-pound backpack and run around the neighborhood to get ready for what he knew would be intense Marine training.

“I didn’t think I’d be getting out. I thought I’d be re-enlisting right now,” the 20-year-old said during a phone interview Sunday. “I still have mixed emotions about what I want to do as far as coming home — like, what to do. I can always go to college, but is that still going to make me as happy and buoyant as being in the Marine Corps?

“I’ll just have to find a happy medium somewhere.”

Adams’ life changed forever on Feb. 9, 2012, when he was leading a patrol with other Marines and stepped on what the military calls an “improvised explosive device.”

In an interview last year, he said he remembered the explosion throwing “me up in the air, and then I landed on the ground.”

Adams, 20, ended up suffering a shrapnel wound to his left eye and bruised lungs, but his legs took the worst of the explosion. Doctors ended up amputating his right leg above his knee and his left leg past his knee.

Since February 2012, his home has mostly been Walter Reed, as doctors worked to fit him with prosthetic legs.

“I’m walking now with no canes,” Adams said. “I get my running legs here soon, and I’m going to try to start running.”

After the retirement ceremony, he will return home with family.

“Finding a house is the next step,” he said.

Adams is enrolled in classes starting next month at Lanier Technical College in Oakwood. He plans to pursue automotive technology and business management.

In trips home from Maryland, he has used much of his spare time working on turning his 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS into a muscle show car.

Tina Adams, his mother, said the family plans to go to Maryland Sept. 25 for Sean’s ceremony and return Sept. 28. Her son is scheduled to speak at the family’s church, Rejoice Worship Center, in Flowery Branch on Sept. 29.

She said her son has made great strides in his recovery, during which President Barack Obama pinned a Purple Heart on him while he lay in his hospital bed surrounded by family.

“He looks real good,” Tina said, adding that his spirits are high. “He’s the person he was before it happened. He cuts up and has fun with everybody, but he does have his down time where things bother him.”

Tina’s family has gone through some other struggles this year, including some health problems. But a strong belief in God keeps pulling them through.

“We’re a real religious family and we believe if (we) weren’t having bad times, something needs to be checked on,” she said. “We’ve still got our faith if nothing else.”


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