Captain Adams was born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, 9 November 1891. He was graduated from the North East Manual School there in 1910, and had night classes for three years (1910-1913) at the Industrial Art School while attending the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, during the period of 1910-1915. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the latter in 1915. He entered the US Naval Reserve on 18 February 1926, as a Lieutenant (jg), and advanced through the various grades to that of Commander to rank from 15 August 1942. He was promoted to the rank of Captain, for temporary service, to date from 1 May 1948.
Active duty assignments for Captain Adams began in 1940, after fourteen years service in an inactive status in the Naval Reserve, with regular periods of training, afloat and ashore. Following a period of instruction in Chemical Warfare at the Edgewood Arsenal, Edgewood, Maryland, he reported in December 1940 to the Bureau of Aeronautics, Navy Department, Washington, DC, where he had duty until September 1941. He then was assigned to the Office of Production Management, Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, until June 1942, when he was transferred to the Bureau of Aeronautics Aircraft Scheduling Unit, in Dayton.
In July 1943 Captain Adams was ordered to duty as the Bureau of Aeronautics General Representative, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He held that assignment until February 1944, when he returned to Dayton as Bureau of Aeronautics General Representative, Central District, Wright Field, where he served until November 1948. In December of that year he reported as Bureau of Aeronautics Representative, Detroit Michigan.
Captain Adams was entitled to the Naval Reserve Service Medal with one bronze star; the American Defense Service Medal; the American Area Campaign Medal; and the World War II Victory Medal.
Prior to his entering the Naval Service, Captain Adams had many years' experience in an engineering capacity with private companies and later with governmental establishments under Civil Service. Following graduation from the University of Pennsylvania in 1915, he was employed by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company for three years as draftsman and transitman on trackwork stations, bridges, culverts and map surveys. From June to November 1918 he worked as draftman and machine designer for the Remington Arms Company in connection with US Rifle model 1917. Until 1920 he next was employed by the American International Shipbuilding Corporation as a mechanical draftman at Hog Island. He then was in charge of mechanical draftsmen of the Merchant Shipbuilding Corporation of Chester, Pennsylvania, before going to the University of Pennsylvania to be in charge of Maintenance. Early in 1922 he secured a position with the Naval Aircraft Factory, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as Aeronautical Design Draftsman, under Civil Service. There he worked on heavier-than-air machines developed by the Navy, and later became Chief Engineering Draftsman, assisting in writing structural analyses.