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  Memorial marker for Michael Adams (Mojave, CA)

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Author Topic:   Memorial marker for Michael Adams (Mojave, CA)
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 29669
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-29-2004 09:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Received from Greg Frazier of XB-70.com:
First American Astronaut Lost in Space Flight to Receive Memorial

On the morning of 15 November 1967, Major Michael J. Adams, USAF, launched on what was to become a flight into history. Piloting the number three X-15 on the 191st flight of this historic program, Major Adams was to conduct six space flight related experiments. This would be the first sub orbital mission for Adams, having completed six previous atmospheric flights in the X-15.

During the ascent portion of the flight, the first of a long series of small technical problems began to arise. Later during the Zero G and early reentry phases, more problems occurred. Mike Adams found himself in histories' first hypersonic spin. Due to the natural stability of the X-15 and Mike's excellent piloting skills, a recovery from the spin was accomplished. However, the terribly high G forces encountered during the spin had overloaded the ships' computer assisted aerodynamic and reaction flight control systems. When Adams applied control pressure to the stick and rudder, the commands were improperly translated to the control systems. The ship entered another spin. At this point, the dynamic forces were more than the ship could handle and Major Adams and the X-15 #3 met their end during reentry over the Mojave Desert.

At this point in U. S. Space History, not much mention was made of this event due to the recent loss of the Apollo 1 crew and the preparation for the upcoming Apollo 7 flight. Mike Adams and the 10th space flight of the X-15 program faded into obscurity. Adams did receive a small amount of recognition in 1991 when the Astronaut memorial was dedicated at Kennedy Space Center. All alone in a lonely corner of the stone Mike Adams' name can be found. There is however no mention of who he was or how he met his fate as the first U.S. astronaut lost during a space mission. The events in the California skies happened a long way from the action in Florida.

On May 8 2004, all this will change. A monument being constructed at the site where he and the X-15 came to rest will honor Major Mike Adams and his contributions to the U.S. Space Program. Spearheading the project is Eagle Scout Candidate John Bodylski and Maj. Greg Frazier, Aerospace Historian. Together with the help of dozens of volunteers, a stylish monument weighing nearly two tons will be erected. A plaque made of Inconel X (the material the X-15 was made of) will relate the story of the event. The location of the monument is in the desert wilderness, miles from civilization, and obtaining permission from the Bureau of Land Management for its placement was no easy task. In the end, the BLM really came through and is even going to donate and transport the required concrete!

The ceremony is of course open to all who wish to attend. The location is very remote however and those interested in attending must take this into consideration. The desert can be a harsh place and there will be no amenities at the site. The ceremony will begin at 11:00 PDT on 8 May and last approximately 20 minutes. Major Adam's family will be in attendance. A lunch will follow in a nearby mining community.

Images and stories of the event will be sent to collectSPACE for all to enjoy. Those interested in braving the Mojave Desert and attending should contact Greg Frazier at 949-548-5696. A map will be posted soon on the Aerospace Archaeology web site XB-70.com.

Rick Boos
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Posts: 846
From: Celina,Ohio U.S.A.
Registered: Feb 2000

posted 04-29-2004 09:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Boos   Click Here to Email Rick Boos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very Fitting, and LONG overdue!

FFrench
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Posts: 3100
From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 04-29-2004 11:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is wonderful news to hear. The incredible work of these pilots who flew winged vehicles back from space for the first time is often overlooked, and remembering Major Adams, who gave his life in the process, is especially important. I am very pleased to hear about this memorial to him being erected.

apollo11lem5
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Posts: 528
From: Seminole, Florida, United States
Registered: May 2000

posted 04-29-2004 03:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for apollo11lem5   Click Here to Email apollo11lem5     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree wholeheartedly with Rick Boos. It truly is most fitting and very long overdue!

music_space
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Posts: 1069
From: Canada
Registered: Jul 2001

posted 04-29-2004 06:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for music_space   Click Here to Email music_space     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
See, we were just discussing time spent on cS on another post, and I was saying that it's not only the time spent on cS, but the time spent pursuing interests inspired by cS itself.

And in this vein, I just discovered the magnificent XB-70, "the largest experimental plane in the world". Videos and crash recovery artefact on xb-70.com, including this very moving piece and on The Flight of the Valkyrie.

Thanks to the individuals involved.

star51L
Member

Posts: 122
From: Vilano Beach, FL, USA
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 04-29-2004 08:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for star51L   Click Here to Email star51L     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What wonderful news to read! Bravo!

sjk
New Member

Posts: 4
From: Long Beach, CA
Registered: May 2004

posted 05-01-2004 02:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sjk   Click Here to Email sjk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A map and other information regarding this event is now online.

FFrench
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Posts: 3100
From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 05-01-2004 02:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Scott, for those of us who can't make it, perhaps you would be willing to take along and /or read out any of the messages of support and tribute that appear on this site, including this message thread?

STEVE SMITH
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Posts: 480
From: WICHITA, KANSAS, USA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 05-01-2004 05:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for STEVE SMITH   Click Here to Email STEVE SMITH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Two neat things going on here; first the recognition, long overdue for this American hero.

Second, that this recognition is being carried across the generatons by Eagle Scout Candidate John Bodylski for his Eagle Project. Well done John. We are grateful to you for this work

I hope you have many plesseant visits here in the future with your grandchildren remembering the X-15, Major Adams, and your part in this.

micropooz
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From: Washington, DC, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 05-01-2004 06:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well said Steve! Not only is it refreshing to see that some kids today are still pressing ahead to become Eagle Scouts, but, wow what an Eagle project John Bodylski had! Congrats and kudos to John!!!

sjk
New Member

Posts: 4
From: Long Beach, CA
Registered: May 2004

posted 05-01-2004 11:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sjk   Click Here to Email sjk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by FFrench:
...perhaps you would be willing to take along and /or read out any of the messages of support and tribute that appear on this site, including this message thread?

I would be happy to take along any thoughts or messages you folks might have. In fact, I think it's a great idea. You can post here or email me directly. I will make them available in a binder. Unfortunately, I cannot promise that any will be read as part of the ceremony as that is already set.

machbusterman
Member

Posts: 1670
From: Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland
Registered: May 2004

posted 05-05-2004 08:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for machbusterman   Click Here to Email machbusterman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wonderful to hear that a fitting memorial is going to be dedicated to one of the finest and most gifted test pilot's to have ever been stationed at Edwards.

Let us not forget that Mike Adams was SO TALENTED that after he graduated the ARPS he had the choice to go to either NASA as an astronaut or continue with the USAF and fly the X-15.

Incidentally, Scott and Greig, it was wonderful to spend the evening in your company at the GoE in Lancaster last year.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29669
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-08-2004 01:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Update from Greg Frazier:
Construction began on the memorial for Major Mike Adams last weekend. Nearly 40 volunteers representing several orginizations gathered under the desert sun for the event. A very well planned out sequence of construction events unfolded and the project was completed ahead of schedule. All is ready for the public unveiling today.
Here is a copy of the engraving from the Inconel-X plaque:

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29669
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-10-2004 02:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Update from Greg Frazier:
Over 100 people traveled to a remote region of the Mojave Desert on Saturday to attend the dedication ceramony for the Michael J. Adams monument. Major Mike Adams, USAF, lost his life on 15 November 1967 when his X-15 lost control during reentry. He was the first American to loose his life during a manned space mission.

The presenters at the ceremony were Eagle Scout candidate John Bodylski and Major Greg Frazier, USAF Aux. The event opened with a presentation of the Colors and a Flag Salute. Frazier then told of the life and times of Mike Adams while Bodylski told of the story of the creation of the monument. He also offered thanks to all who helped.

Above: Dave, George, Brent and Dan Adams

Four members of Major Adams' family were present: George Adams (brother), Brent Adams (youngest son), Dave Adams (nephew) and Dan Adams (nephew). George gave a moving tribute to his brother and a heartfelt thanks to all who made this possible.

John Bodylski was then presented with a letter of commendation from the BLM presented by Mr. Hector Villalobos. The letter commends John for organizing a project with such important historical significance. It further thanks him for adding an important site of interest to the public lands.

Above: Dan Adams, Greg Frazier, John Bodylski, Brent Adams, George Adams, Bill Dana, Dave Adams and Scott Kaczorowski

Major Frazier then introduced a group of former X-15 mechanics and crew members followed by an introduction of Mr. William H. "Bill" Dana, the last man to fly the X-15. Bill spoke of Mike's contribution to the aerospace world and the importance of the X-15 program.

Above: Watching the Fly-By! Left to right: Dave Adams, George Adamd Pete Merlin and Dan Adams

Those in attendance then stood for a rendition of "Taps" followed by a fly over conducted by Major Ken Gonzalez and Captain Mike DeVoogt of the 68th Composite Squadron, USAF Auxiliary. They flew a beautiful red, white and blue Cessna U-206 for the event.

Following the close of events, many traveled to the Silver Dollar Saloon in nearby Red Mountian for some great food and conversation. A fantastic time was had by all.

We offer a final salute to Colonel Pete Knight who very much wanted to be at this event...

sjk
New Member

Posts: 4
From: Long Beach, CA
Registered: May 2004

posted 05-11-2004 05:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sjk   Click Here to Email sjk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A preliminary web page is up.

Last Chance Rand
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Posts: 1
From: Death Valley, CA
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 06-22-2004 02:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Last Chance Rand     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The location of the monument is in the desert wilderness, miles from civilization...
Sorry, I hate to quibble, but the monument is actually only a few minutes drive off of Hwy 395, near the tri-towns area of Randsburg/Johannesburg/Red Mountain. I'm sure that the 2000+ residents of this area would qualify as "civilization" having plumbing, electricity, and even cable TV.

The adjacent area is hardly wilderness, either. Rather it is a very popular OHV recreation area that receives hundreds of visitors every weekend (except for summer, of course!). If the monument site was indeed located within wilderness, federal law would prohibit its construction, as well as the use of a truck to transport materials, as motorized vehicles are not allowed in wilderness.

However, it is a WONDERFUL monument that can easily be reached by a high clearance sedan. I suggest that collectSPACE readers put this one high on their list of places to visit, then take in the neighboring towns for a meal and a cold drink.

sjk
New Member

Posts: 4
From: Long Beach, CA
Registered: May 2004

posted 11-05-2004 01:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sjk   Click Here to Email sjk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Last Chance Rand:
Sorry, I hate to quibble, but the monument is actually only a few minutes drive off of Hwy 395, near the tri-towns area of Randsburg/Johannesburg/Red Mountain.
I'm sure that they would all tell you that they are "miles away" from the crash site.

The good folks at the White House Saloon, The Joint, the General Store, the Silver Dollar, The Cottage...all know us by name. The day we insult Faith, Olga, Pat, ...is the day we give up the hobby.

quote:
The adjacent area is hardly wilderness, either.
Sorry, I hate to quibble, but if by "wilderness" you mean the BLM definition of "Wilderness" (boots only — no wheeled vehicles, no internal combustion engines, etc.), then, yes, you are correct. However, whatever we meant by "w/Wilderness" ...the message is the same.

Perhaps my partner in WMAA, Major Greg Frazier, took some poetic license in his description of the event. However, the fact of the matter is: The monument is about five miles away from the nearest toilet, water, food, gasoline, telephone, TV, clean sheets, etc. By "wilderness" we mean "no services."

The monument is IN FACT miles away from civilization. If you don't bring it, you won't have it. It is not so far out that you couldn't walk into town if you had to, but I daresay you probably don't want to. That said, Trona road is fairly well-travelled (I suspect there must be civilization in Trona as well). A visit to the monument is not dangerous, but the site IS remote. PLEASE keep this in mind.

"Last Chance Rand" implies that a visit is No Big Deal. Our feeling is that the site might be visited by aviation/space buffs unfamiliar with desert travel. Idiots all? Of course not. Will the odd family in search of the monument be driving a Dodge Caravan? We very much hope so, and we hope to give them a clue before they leave home.

Little-w "wilderness" might not fit a definition, but it conveys the idea, doesn't it?

quote:
Rather it is a very popular OHV recreation area that receives hundreds of visitors every weekend
And as such the road to the monument is good and well-maintained. However, if you drive a slammed Civic or somesuch, you may park on Trona Road and walk in — probably about a 15-minute trek. Unless it's actually raining, the views will make it seem like a much shorter walk. In fact, most of the ceremony participants were directed to park on Trona Road.

On our last visit to the monument (September 2004) we were pleased to see that flowers and a small flag had been left and that there was ample evidence of visitation (literally thousands of footsteps!) The area was clean and litter-free. Sure, you could quibble that the flag and flowers are themselves litter, but we don't think so.

Speaking of litter - The area just east of the monument has been used as a dump for years. I personally have carried over 1,000 pounds of trash out, but there are thousands of pounds remaining. I'd ask that if you go, that you bring a trash bag and take some garbage with you when you go.

I've had email from visitors to the site from as far away as the Netherlands. We are thrilled at the interest in the monument.

Also, a piece about SpaceShipOne's second-of-two X PRIZE flights on NPR's Day to Day spent significant time on Major Michael Adams

"So who is this Mike Adams guy?" Heh!

quote:
Rather it is a very popular OHV recreation area that receives hundreds of visitors every weekend
And as such the road to the monument is good and well-maintained. However, if you drive a slammed Civic or somesuch, you may park on Trona Road and walk in — probably about a 15-minute trek. Unless it's actually raining, the views will make it seem like a much shorter walk. In fact, most of the ceremony participants were directed to park on Trona Road.

Apologies to the group for this somewhat petty post, but I felt the anonymous, critical post from "Last Chance Rand" required a response.

x15gal
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Posts: 54
From: Lake Forest, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 2010

posted 10-29-2013 01:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for x15gal   Click Here to Email x15gal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Been a long time since anyone commented on this thread, so I thought I'd see if anyone is still out there listening in. Next May we will be coming up on the 10th anniversary of the dedication of the monument to Mike Adams. I am trying to get hold of anyone involved with the original project, such as Greg Frazier, to discuss possible plans to commemorate the anniversary.

The anniversary of May 8, 2014 also happens to coincide with the opening day of Spacefest, which will occur in Pasadena. It would be great if some tie-in to that event might be made as sometimes they have special side trips and things of that nature.

A major change has occurred at the site since the original dedication. A lot of things have been added, such as display/information boards, a flagpole, a makeshift memorial cairn, and a bench. One problem is that the info boards are deteriorating in the sunlight, but I have a friend who says he may be able to fix that, so this is just one aspect that I am hoping to speak with someone about. Thanks.

onesmallstep
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From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 11-04-2013 04:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Touching and heartfelt that all these decades later, the unsung pilots — and all the engineers and technicians — of the X-15 program are getting the recognition they deserve. Neil Armstrong and Scott Crossfield must be smiling from above.

I found photos taken by someone who grew up near the area of the crash and taken two years ago, showing the changes to the memorial mentioned in Michelle's post above.

Philip
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Posts: 4980
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 11-05-2013 10:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very fitting memorial stone!

x15gal
Member

Posts: 54
From: Lake Forest, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 2010

posted 01-27-2014 02:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for x15gal   Click Here to Email x15gal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wanted to post the information that we are moving forward with the re-dedication of the Mike Adams Monument site, which will include new and improved signage for the BLM display. The ceremony is now scheduled for Sunday, May 18th, at 11:00 am. We will be installing the new panels the day before, on Saturday the 17th, then unveiling them at the ceremony.

I hope that we may get a nice crowd to come out and share the day with us and to honor Mike Adams for the sacrifice he made for aeronautical research and hypersonic flight.

x15gal
Member

Posts: 54
From: Lake Forest, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 2010

posted 04-14-2014 01:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for x15gal   Click Here to Email x15gal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The planning for the re-dedication event is coming together very well. I now have a page on my website with a full description and a map of what will be happening that day.

randy
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Posts: 1420
From: West Jordan, Utah USA
Registered: Dec 1999

posted 04-14-2014 10:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for randy   Click Here to Email randy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's about time!

x15gal
Member

Posts: 54
From: Lake Forest, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 2010

posted 04-19-2014 05:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for x15gal   Click Here to Email x15gal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sorry Randy, but things have been very busy of late. Seems that I haven't had enough time to take a breath! Hope the web page has everything you need. Feel free to pass along the link to anyone you feel might be interested. The event is shaping up to be a good one.

I've also just added some suggestions for accommodations for people spending the night, and also a few photos showing the original dedication and how the monument looks today.

OV-105
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Posts: 606
From: Ridgecrest, CA USA
Registered: Sep 2000

posted 04-19-2014 11:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for OV-105   Click Here to Email OV-105     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If you plan on an overnight stay there is nothing in Randsburg, not even sidewalks. You will be better off in Ridgecrest.

x15gal
Member

Posts: 54
From: Lake Forest, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 2010

posted 04-24-2014 01:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for x15gal   Click Here to Email x15gal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Actually there are several places in Randsburg, but are mainly bed & breakfast types. I was told that most of those are already booked through June and July as it is a popular place with some people. I did put the contact info for the places that said they still had room on my web page.

But I certainly understand wanting to stay in Ridgecrest. (And I have several suggested Ridgecrest hotels on my site as well.) That is actually where I'll be staying that weekend, but that is primarily because of logistics since I am supposed to be giving a talk there Saturday night.

x15gal
Member

Posts: 54
From: Lake Forest, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 2010

posted 05-07-2014 01:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for x15gal   Click Here to Email x15gal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is very sad that with our preparations nearing completion for the May 18th re-dedication of the Mike Adams memorial, to have the news of losing his fellow X-15 pilot Bill Dana yesterday. The news has not been unexpected because of his ill health for many years now, but nevertheless a great loss. This now leaves us with but one hypersonic pilot left, Joe Engle.

I salute Bill Dana and his amazing and fulfilling life, and I wish Joe Engle a long and happy life to come.

x15gal
Member

Posts: 54
From: Lake Forest, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 2010

posted 05-26-2014 02:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for x15gal   Click Here to Email x15gal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The re-dedication of the Mike Adams Memorial went really great on May 18th. We had a crowd very similar in size to the original dedication, so it was wonderful to see all those people coming out to honor Mike. I've been on the road doing X-15 presentations until a few days ago, so I just got a chance to upload an update to the Adams Memorial web page. You can access the site here.

Thanks to everyone who made this tribute to Major Adams possible.

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