Lynn W. Adams was born in Gassville, Arkansas, on 18 November 1924, son of Wyth W. and Lorena (Allman) Adams. He attended Cotter (Arkansas) High School and Arkansas Polytechnic College at Russellville, before enlisting in the US Naval Reserve in August 1943. Following flight training at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, he was commissioned Ensign, USNR, on 1 April 1945, and designated Naval Aviator on 13 April, that year. He subsequently advanced in rank to that of Captain, to date from 1 June 1966, having transferred from the US Naval Reserve to the US Navy on 12 July 1946.
Following his commissioning in 1945, he had further training at the Naval Air Station, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, until January 1946, when he was assigned to Torpedo Squadron TWENTY. During the period November 1947 to April 1948 he was a student at the Combat Information Center School, Naval Air Station, Glenview, Illinois, then joined Composite Squadron TWELVE as Aviator. In January 1951 he returned to the Naval Air Station, Glenview, and served as Instructor at the Combat Information Center School until January 1953, when he became Assistant Combat Information Center Officer on board USS Lake Champlain.
From July 1954 to May 1956 he had duty as Assistant to Operations Officer on the Staff of Commander Naval Air Force, US Atlantic Fleet after which he attended Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana. Following instruction at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, January to October 1957, he became Flight Instructor at the Naval Auxiliary Air Station, Kingsville, Texas. From July 1959 to July 1960 he attended the Command and Staff Course at the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, then was Student Aviator with Heavy Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-THREE. In March 1961 he became Officer in Charge of a Detachment of Heavy Attack Squadron FOUR, operating from USS Lexington, which deployed to the Western Pacific. He transferred in May 1962 to Heavy Attack Squadron SIX, based on USS Ranger, which also had Western Pacific deployment, and served as Operations Officer, Executive Officer and Commanding Officer until December 1963.
He next joined the Staff of Commander Naval Air Force, US Pacific Fleet, as Training Officer where he remained until May 1965, when he became Navigator and Executive Officer on board USS Ticonderoga, deployed to the Western Pacific. He had instruction at the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, from July 1966 to July 1967, after which he had further instruction at George Washington University, Washington, DC. In July 1968 he was assigned to the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, DC, where he served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Special Study Group until May 1970, when he became Executive Officer of the Naval Station, Rota, Spain.
Captain Adams had the American Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; Navy Occupation Service Medal; National Defense Service Medal with bronze star; Korean Service Medal with one star; United Nations Service Medal; and the Vietnam Service Medal with bronze star.