Adam P. Kass, #1231, 1977 – 2002
Born in Oak Park, Illinois, and a long-time resident of Downers Grove, Ill., where his family still resides, Lieutenant Kass graduated from Benet Academy in Lisle, Ill., and from the University of Illinois at Champaign. Since the age of 14 , he demonstrated a sense of duty to his country, first through the Colonel Shorty Powers Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol, where he eventually became the Cadet Commander. He got his pilot’s license at age 17. His patriotism was clear as he won a national CAP competition with a speech advocating a constitutional amendment prohibiting desecration of the flag.
At the U of I, he was in the Army ROTC program and was commissioned an officer in the United States Army in December of 1999. He took his Officer Basic Course in armor at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and graduated first in his class. He completed Air Assault and Airborne training and Ranger school. He was among only 27 men of 289 that started and finished the 9-week Ranger training together. Especially remarkable since he broke a bone in his foot at the end of week 2, but kept quiet about it, laced up his boot and kept going to avoid getting washed out for medical reasons.
Eventually stationed at Schweinfurt, Germany, he was so deeply affected by the 9/11 terrorist attack that, upon hearing about it, he penned “A Message From a Soldier.”His letter passionately describes how the persons responsible for ending the lives of thousands of innocents that he had sworn to defend would come to justice.
Lieutenant Kass also completed the Chicago Marathon and, just a few weeks before his death, the Prague International Marathon. Upon his death, his immediate superior began the A “Anvil” Troop Memorial Award to be awarded annually in Lt. Kass’ name to the best man in the troop.
(Originally published in the Fall 2002 issue of TAPS magazine, ©2002, The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Inc. Used with permission.)