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“Darkside” Marine finds the light

HIT, Iraq (March 19, 2008) -- HIT, Iraq - Lance Cpl. Micah P. Adams said he never thought that as a rifleman he’d be chosen to personally keep a chaplain safe from harm.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/DBACC8BF26D3E117852574130023FA21?opendocument

March 19, 2008; Submitted on: 03/21/2008 01:32:57 AM ; Story ID#: 200832113257
By Cpl. Erik Villagran, 1st Marine Division

Adams, 22, from Orange County, Calif., finds himself in that exact situation after being chosen to be a chaplain’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 “Darkside,” 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.

“What stood out to me was his forthrightness,” said Taylor. “He didn’t tell me what I wanted to hear.”

Taylor’s decision was solidified during pre-deployment training exercise Mojave Viper, where Taylor said he made note of Adams’ selflessness.

“He was always willing to put people in front of him,” Taylor said. “He sacrificed his time, his sleep and his food. Anything he has, he’ll give up.”

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 chaplain’s assistant that forced Adams to change his routine and attitude.

“In the beginning, I had to make adjustments from being in the field all the time to being in an office,” said Adams.

Adams’ 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.

“They thought I wasn’t going to be doing anything,” Adams said. “After Mojave Viper, they realized I do a lot more than they thought.”

Adams helped the chaplain plan his ministry and classes around Marines’ 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.

“Marines interact with Marines a whole lot differently than with sailors,” Taylor said. “My ministry with India Company is better because of my chaplain’s assistant. He’s the one who opened the door.”

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.

“He’s taken a big step in putting critical input into what I do,” Taylor said. “He is making me aware of anything out there that I can help.”

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.

“It’s been excellent, because this is where God has called us,” Taylor said. “We’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.”

Despite their different military association, this pair is a match made in heaven.