NEWS | March 3, 2021

Fairfield, Illinois, Army Reserve veterinarian concludes 21 years of military service

By Col. Meritt Phillips Army Reserve Medical Command

“Col. Loren Adams has served more than two decades of selfless service to his country to include command and multiple deployments,” said Maj. Gen. Jonathan Woodson, commander of Army Reserve Medical Command.

“Less than 1 percent of the nation serves in the armed forces and less than 2 percent of those individuals reach the level of responsibility that Loren has achieved. We are grateful for the sacrifices of his wife Susan, and children, Zach, Jake, Jaclyn, and Natalie as they supported Col. Adam’s willingness to answer his nation’s call.”

Raised in Mill Creek, Indiana, Col. Loren Adams earned a Bachelor of Animal Science and Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana.

He joined a private veterinary medicine practice in New Liberty, Iowa, where he specialized in predominately large animals. He practiced for 26 years and joined the Army Reserve Veterinary Corps after 16.

“When the Army Reserve sent out notices asking for veterinarians to join, I thought, I could do that too,” shared Adams. “I was looking for an adventure I suppose after my private practice veterinary job was becoming repetitive.”

Adams has a family history of military service, his father and father-in-law both served in World War II. Two years prior to Adams’ decision to serve, his son Zach, joined the National Guard.

Adams, at age 40, received a direct commission in March of 2000.

“At the time, I didn’t think I would serve more than eight years,” said Adams. “After my first deployment, I didn’t want to give up my (military) career so easily.”

“As more opportunities came my way, I really enjoyed my time wearing the uniform and working and learning with my Army friends,” he shared.

Deployments were numerous for Adams, but that didn’t sway him from continuing to serve.

Adams was mobilized in 2006 to performing inspections in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Djibouti, and United Arab Emirates to ensure food supplies were safe and met critical guidelines of the U.S. military. In 2010 he was deployed to support Operation Enduring Freedom and was responsible for developing a rabies education and vaccination program for the Kunar province of Afghanistan. He was awarded a Combat Action Badge and earned Bronze Star for his efforts.

The Army mobilized him again in support of OEF to Kuwait in 2013 and to Honduras in 2018. Col. Adams additionally served on missions in Guatemala, El Salvador, Jamaica, and Italy, and had the unique opportunity to serve aboard the Navy hospital ship the USNS Mercy on a humanitarian mission to Indonesia and the Philippines.

A husband and father of four, the numerous deployments required significant sacrifices from his family and his civilian veterinary partners before he retired from his practice in 2010.

“Deployments were challenging for my wife, Susan. I am very proud of her for working through those times,” reflected Adams. “It changed both of us for the better in terms of personal growth.”

“It was very difficult at times,” shared Susan Adams. “There were many support systems in place and Loren and I got much better after several go rounds of deployments. We knew what to expect, and where the difficulties would be.”

One of Adams daughters, Jaclyn, has also answered the call to serve.

“I commissioned her in the old Iowa Capital Building in Iowa City when I came home for two weeks during my first deployment to Qatar and CENTCOM Area of Operations,” shared Adams. “Her grandfather, Russell Wilson, came to the ceremony and gave Jackie her first salute.” Maj. Jaclyn Adams is currently deployed to Germany and has made a career out of the Army in logistics.

In addition to the life experiences Col. Adams gained while deployed, he also found time to continue his professional education.

“I took the opportunity offered by the Army and the GI Bill to get my Masters of Public Health degree and board certification,” explained Adams. He earned his degree from University of Iowa in 2011.

During his career, Adams spent three years as the commander of the Army Reserve’s 949th Medical Detachment (Veterinary Service), based in Ames, Iowa. Command is a privilege and the most important role an officer will have in their career.

“One of the things I realized when I was commanding is that Soldiers in the Army are much more resilient and also open to new challenges than the general public,” said Adams. “Army Soldiers don’t shirk from the challenge, which I find very admirable and different from many jobs in civilian life.”

Adams final assignment was as the Command Veterinarian for Army Reserve Medical Command, based in Pinellas Park, Florida.

Travel restrictions related to COVID-19 limited the ability for a formal retirement ceremony for Col. Adams at the command headquarters. Instead, his family will host their own celebration later this spring at their home in Fairfield, Illinois.

“Our family is very proud of Loren’s service, and also of my son’s and daughter’s service. We are proud of being a military family,” shared Susan.

Adams was eligible to retire in 2020 but committed to another year to support his current position, earning him 21 years of service. He contributes his willingness to continue to serve to his fellow Soldiers.

“I have been so thankful and privileged to have served with some awesome Soldiers. Soldiers who may be different from me in some ways, but still connected by our commitment to service and duty,” said Adams.

“It’s all about who you are with, and connecting with others. No matter what we have done, or where it happened in the world, the best part of the job has been experiencing it with other Soldiers of a similar mindset.”