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Eugene "Jeep" MacAdams passed away on December 29, 2020, a few days after his 97th birthday. MacAdams was a retired Army First Sergeant who served 30 years in the New Jersey National Guard specifically the 114th Infantry, 50th Armored Division also known as the "Jersey Blues". He lived most of his life in Brooklawn, and he also spent several years in Florida and the South Jersey shore area.
Jeep's parents and his siblings lived in the community of National Park, in Gloucester County. During WW II four of the six MacAdams' brothers served in the Armed Forces.
Charles W. MacAdams, US Army, Europe/ Normandy to Czech. Charles received three Purple Hearts and three Bronze Stars for valor.
Joseph S. MacAdams, U.S. Marine Corp who fought in Europe and the Pacific.
Eugene “Jeep” MacAdams, U.S. Navy who served in an Advance Base Unit in the South Pacific.
Edwin J. MacAdams, U.S. Navy, who served aboard the USS Salisbury Sound in the South Pacific.
During the Korean War, brothers Horace MacAdams, U.S. Army, and Reynolds MacAdams, U.S. Air Force enlisted.
Three of the MacAdams men (Charles, Joe, and Ed) were all charter members of the VFW Post 6884, National Park. The total number of years the MacAdams brothers served in the military equals 160.
Eugene MacAdams dropped out of Woodbury High School in 1941, just a month shy of graduating, to join the Army National Guard and help support his mother, Lydia, who was getting by on just $78 subsistence a month for her five dependent children and herself, according to the article that appeared in the Gloucester County Times. The National Park family had struggled mightily after the death of Charles MacAdams, husband and father when Jeep was just 10.
Seventy years later, Jeep, 88, received his Woodbury High School diploma. Continuing its practice of granting belated diplomas that started about 10 years ago, the Woodbury Board of Education presented one to MacAdams at its recent regular meeting at the Evergreen School.
“I was no dummy, but I was never bothered about not having the diploma, figuring I didn’t need it,” Jeep says. “None of my brothers (Charles, Joe, Edwin, and Horace) graduated either.
In the mid-60s Sgt. First Class Eugene MacAdams was stationed at headquarters company at the Woodbury Armory, and I was assigned to the Jersey Blues Armory in Pitman. Every summer for two weeks our unit would train at Camp Drum, Watertown, New York. My wife's aunt Eleanor Sarlo was married to Jeep's brother Master Sergeant Edwin (Ed) MacAdams who was also assigned to Headquarters Company. Eugene and Ed's brother Horace MacAdams was a Captain at Headquarters Company.
My six-year experience in the Guard between 1964 and 1970 was at times exciting and unforgettable, especially those six days spent fighting with our unit during the 1967 Newark Riots.
Last January I visited the sergeant at his Brooklawn home. At age 96 he was as sharp as a tack and had no trouble talking about what was going on in the world. He was a proud supporter of President Donald Trump, and he was upset over the way the Washington elite were treating his "President." There are people in the DC swamp that are trying to overthrow his (Trump) presidency", he said.
Inevitably when we got together the topic of the Newark Riot would work its way into our conversation. He would say how proud he was of the men under him for their bravery in Newark. "That was a combat situation, Live bullets were being fired at you and the other soldiers. People died."
I was 23 years old in 1967 and many of the soldiers in our unit were also in their early 20's. During the time we were there the skyline was filled with smoke from buildings that were set on fire by the rioters. The sirens from the police cars and fire engines were constant sounds along with the sounds coming from shots being fired back and forth between those armed rioters who were trying to kill us and the soldiers and police who were firing back at them. You could hear the bullets whiz by as they ricochet off the cars and buildings that we were behind for cover. At times it was chaotic. Whenever we had a few minutes to talk among ourselves we found it hard to believe we were in a war just a few hours from our homes and loved ones in South Jersey.
One thing that I vividly remember was the day Jeep and his brother Master Sergeant/Battalion Operations Sergeant Edwin MacAdams (known to me as Uncle Ed) kept our Company from being overrun by a large crowd of rioters. That day 100 or more discontent individuals were moving towards a business district that was still standing and we were detailed to disburse them.
The order came to fix bayonets. Several squads formed a wedge and we started to slowly march towards the crowd. Our Company Lieutenant was calling cadence. Some of those in the crowd started to throw rocks, bottles, and whatever else they could find. All of sudden the count stopped. Some of us turned our heads and saw the Lieutenant running in the opposite direction away from the crowd. Before panic could set in Jeep and his brother, Ed came out of nowhere and picked up the tempo. The crowd was pushed back and gradually dispersed. I am sure things would have turned out differently if the MacAdams brothers had not stepped in that day.
In 2006 Tim Russert, the American television journalist wrote a book, Wisdom of Our Fathers, that contained a collection of letters he received recounting relationships between fathers, sons, and daughters.
One of those published letters mentions retired Army Sergeant Jeep MacAdams, of Brooklawn and The Battle of Newark. That letter came from Rich Sauer, who wrote about his father, Big Ade (Adrian Francis Sauer Jr.) of Haddonfield who served with MacAdams. After World War II, he joined the NJ National Guard and opened a luncheonette on the main street of Haddonfield.
Here is an excerpt from that book.
As I made my way around the large room to say thank you, one of Big Ade's old Guard buddies, Sergeant "Jeep" MacAdams, grabbed the sleeve of my suit. Jeep told me that it was my dad who had encouraged him to go into the Guard after World War II, which saved him from driving a cab in Camden for the rest of his life. 'There are so many stories I could tell you about your old man, Richie," Jeep rasped into my ear. ".
"You know we were in Newark during the riots of 'sixty-seven. It was a combat situation, let me tell you. I want you to know what an excellent and brave soldier your old man was. He was a true leader. SEE MORE
Jeep had many jobs in the National Guard one of them was being a drill sergeant.
Lookup definition of those words and you'll find the man with that title is a symbol of
excellence in initial entry training, an expert in all warrior tasks and battle drills, lives the Army values, exemplifies the warrior ethos, and most importantly- is the epitome of the Army as a profession.
A drill sergeant is all that Soldiers know of the Army and they emulate everything the sergeant does. Being a drill sergeant is one of the most demanding and difficult jobs in our Army, it is also one of the most rewarding. Just as you will always remember your drill sergeant, so will your Soldiers. What you do for them will impact them for the rest of their lives! source U.S. Army Drill Sergeant
I will always think of Jeep as that gruff sergeant with a big heart who always looked out for the soldiers in his care. Who remained a friend years after we were no longer active-duty soldiers. A guy who I will always remember as a kindred spirit.
Rest In Peace Jeep. And, thank you and your brothers for your service to Our Country.
Relatives and friends are invited to his visitation on Wednesday, January 13, 2021, from 9 AM until 12 Noon at the McCANN-HEALEY FUNERAL HOME, 851 Monmouth St., Gloucester City, NJ. Interment will follow at Eglington Cemetery, Kings Highway, Clarksboro, NJ. Those attending must wear a mask or facial covering while observing social distancing guidelines in the funeral home.
In place of flowers, donations may be made to: The Army-Navy Union Garrison No. 52, 26 Riverview Avenue, National Park, NJ 08063.
Condolences and memories may be shared at www.mccannhealey.com under the obituary of Eugene “Jeep” MacAdams. Funeral Arrangements and Inquiries through McCANN-HEALEY FUNERAL HOME, Gloucester City Ph:856-456-1142