Adamski was one of the early members of that famed 82nd Airborne Division.
Paratrooper Ted Adamski of Jackson Township was making a demonstration jump in Africa when he dropped in on Bob Hope as he was entertaining troops during World War II.
“I came right down on him,” recalled Adamski. “I swung out and tried to miss him, but I came back and hit him.
“I told him ‘I came here to save you.’ He just laughed and said something like ‘You darned near killed me.’”
It was one of the few light moments in the four-year military career of the member of the 82nd Airborne Division. Adamski was one of the early members of that famed Army unit.
“I made 50 jumps, four of them in combat — Normandy, the Battle of the Bulge, Italy and Holland,” said Adamski, who noted he spent more than 400 days in combat.
Adamski was wounded three times — once “in the butt,” another in the arm, and a third time in the head. The latter was a wound that he said could have been his ticket home. But, he protested to a doctor treating him in a military hospital.
“I told him I didn’t want to go home. I came here to fight.”
Adamski wanted to leave the hospital and return to his unit.
That night Adamski heard the door to his room rattle. When he got up, he found a fresh pair of pants, Adamski recalled. On the garment the doctor had attached a note. It said, simply, “Good luck.”
Adamski had decided to enlist on Dec. 7, 1941, the day Pearl Harbor was bombed.
His first jump was over Sicily, he said. “They gave us four gold dollars in case we were captured, so we could maybe buy our way out.”
Adamski jumped again over Normandy. “They told us to go 15 miles, I think it was south, dig in and hold.”
Fighting was fierce. His company’s commander was shot in front of Adamski. “I got the Germans who did it,” he said.
The enemy action brought about Adamski’s fourth jump — a leap into the frigid and deadly Battle of the Bulge.
“That was the worst part of the war for me.”
AFTER THE WAR
Adamski returned to the United States with little fanfare, he said. “We didn’t have a reception. No band.” When they were sent from Camp Lee in Virginia, Adamski was carrying two bags. “They gave us $300, a last meal, and two MPs walked with us to the gate, I guess to make sure we left.”
The East Coast native had met his wife, Clara, in Canton before the war, on his way to Texas. They were married in 1946. She died in 1996 after 50 years of marriage. They raised two children, John and Minnie.
Page 2 of 2 - Adamski worked for Ford Motor Co. in Canton for 40 years, before retiring in the 1980s.
The former paratrooper said he thinks often of the war. There are reminders. Pain in his head lingers from his wound, “especially when I turn my head to the right or left.”
Still, the service was worth it, he believes. A war was won. And he honored his family.
“That’s why I enlisted in the Army. I wanted my dad and mom to be proud of me,” said Adamski.