Adam P. Kass, #1231, 1977 – 2002

Adam Kass, a lieutenant in the United States Army, died in a vehicular accident while on duty in Germany with the 4th Cavalry Squadron of the 1st Infantry.

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.)

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  1. Profile photo of Mike Hower

    Mike Hower - Sep 23, 2013

    Article from the Chicago Tribune, 2 July 2002. Reposted here for archive.

    Lt. Adam P. Kass, 25
    Army officer killed in accident
    July 02, 2002 | By Patricia Trebe. Special to the Tribune.

    There was nothing more important to Lt. Adam P. Kass than serving his country. He focused on his duties in the Army with an unwavering sense of determination.

    In the wake of Sept. 11, he wrote a letter to his friends, colleagues and commanders expressing outrage against those responsible for the attacks. He wrote: “I was created and placed on this earth with one purpose alone: to protect, with my life, my people and my country from the evils of the world.”

    “I believe he saw what he was doing–being a leader to soldiers and serving his country–as the most important contribution he could ever make,” said his former commanding officer, Capt. Matthew Turpin.

    Lt. Kass, 25, died Tuesday, June 25, in a vehicular accident while on duty with the 1st Squadron, 4th U.S. Cavalry of the 1st Infantry Division in Schweinfurt, Germany.

    He was born in Oak Park and raised in Downers Grove.

    His mother, Cynthia, said her son demonstrated a strong sense of patriotic duty as a teen,, joining the Col. Shorty Powers Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol at age 14. Through an Air Force Association scholarship, he was able to obtain his pilot’s license at age 17. While a senior in high school, he won a national Civil Air Patrol competition with a speech advocating a constitutional amendment prohibiting the desecration of the U.S. flag.

    After graduating from Benet Academy in Lisle, he attended the University of Illinois on an Army ROTC scholarship and went through air assault school. After graduating from the U. of I. with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in December 1999, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army.

    He ranked first in the armor officer basic course at Ft. Knox, Ky. Later that year, he completed the scout leaders course and airborne school and went through the Army’s nine-week Ranger school.

    “In the second week he broke a bone in his foot. He just laced up his boot and finished it because he didn’t want to be washed out,” his mother said.

    Of the 289 men who started the course, Lt. Kass was one of 27 to complete it in nine weeks.

    “He was just relentless. He was determined in whatever he decided to do,” said his father, David.

    Lt. Kass joined the 1st Squadron in Germany in January 2001. He served as a tank platoon leader under Turpin. Two months later, Turpin promoted him to a scout platoon leader.

    Turnpin said the unit had been experiencing several personnel and morale problems. “In two months’ time he turned them around, creating an incredible amount of pride in the men, Turpin said, adding, “His soldiers gravitated to him. And they would do anything to follow him. He was the most upright lieutenant I have ever met. I trusted him completely.”

    Last January Lt. Kass moved to Alpha Troop, where he served as executive officer.

    Lt. Kass had completed the Chicago Marathon while in college. A few weeks ago he completed the Prague International Marathon.

    On visits home, Lt. Kass was devoted to his family, his mother said.

    “Other than his duties as a soldier, his family and friends were the important things in his life,” she said.

    Other survivors include a sister, Diana; two brothers, Jared and Braden; and grandparents Paul and Ruth Rossi and Eleanore Kass.

    A visitation will be held from 3 to 9 p.m. Tuesday in Adams-Winterfield and Sullivan Funeral Home, 4343 Main St., Downers Grove. Services will begin at 9:15 a.m. Wednesday in the funeral home, followed by a 10 a.m. mass in Divine Savior Church, 6700 Main St., Downers Grove.

    Memorials in Lt. Kass’ name may be made by contacting the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors at 800-959-TAPS.


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