Family Pays Tribute to WWII Vet, Achieves His Final Wish

WWII and Korean War veteran Harry Neil Adams died on Nov. 21, 2016, at the age of 96 and always dreamed of being on television

The family of a World War II veteran celebrated his life Friday at Miramar National Cemetery in San Diego, and accomplished their hero’s final wish.

Harry Neil Adams died on Nov. 21, 2016 at the age of 96. He was a big fan of television and, before he passed, he wished for one last thing: to be on TV. Harry’s family sent photos of him to NBC 7 – including vintage snapshots from his U.S. military service – and, per his wish, Harry’s face aired on TV.

Courty of Adams Family
An undated photograph of the WWII veteran. His family held a ceremony for him on Jan. 6, 2017, at Miramar National Cemetery.

According to the veteran’s grandson, Sheldon Neil Adams, Harry was born on Oct. 13, 1920.

Harry worked in communications for the U.S. Navy in the first major offensive against Japan in the Pacific Ocean known as the Guadalcanal Campaign. When Harry heard the military was short on men, he volunteered to fight on land.

Courty of Adams Family
WWII vet Harry Neil Adams started his military career with the U.S. Navy.

“He shot a Japanese soldier out of a tree, then took the soldier’s weapon, brought it back to the United States and took a gunsmith course so he could put it back together with his own two hands,” Sheldon told NBC 7.

To this day, the veteran’s family still owns the artifact, which has become a family heirloom.

Sheldon said Harry fought in WWII in Germany as well, where he was captured as a Prison of War. Seven months later, once the war was over, Harry was released, Sheldon said.

But his military career wasn’t over just yet.

Harry then fought in the Korean War.

After his years in the battlefield, Sheldon said his grandfather lived off and on in Latin America for 70 years.

Courty of Adams Family
WWII and Korean War veteran Harry Neil Adams died on Nov. 21, 2016. He was 96.

“He gathered intelligence for the CIA on Russian submarines travelling around Patagonia during the Cold War and he also collected intelligence for many decades on German Nazis who were hiding in Latin America,” Sheldon explained.

Harry’s family held a ceremony for him Friday at Miramar National Cemetery in San Diego. Sheldon said his grandfather’s dream was to be mentioned on TV for his contribution to the U.S. military, and “to the country that he loved so much.”

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