Captain Adams was born 1 February 1902, in Glasgow, Kentucky, son of Samuel Q. and Alice Maude (Waller) Adams. He finished High School in that city in 1921 and entered the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, and was graduated and commissioned Ensign on 4 June 1925. He subsequently progressed through the grades reaching the rank of Captain to date from 20 July 1943.
After accepting the commission as Ensign in June 1925, Captain Adams was assigned to gunnery duty aboard USS Idaho in which he served, until 1929. He then had similar duty consecutively in USS Stoddert (DD 302) and USS Tattnall (DD 125). In 1932 he returned to Annapolis for instruction in Ordnance at the Postgraduate School until 1935, when he was ordered to USS Bainbridge (DD 246) as Executive Officer. In 1936 he was transferred to USS Cushing (DD 376) in which he had gunnery duty for two years.
Ordered to shore duty, he served as Assistant Inspector of Naval Material at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from 1938 until early 1941. At sea again, he was aboard USS Vincennes during the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo, the Battle of Midway, and the First Savo Island. In August 1942 he reported for duty on the Staff of Commander Amphibious Forces, South Pacific, and served in that capacity until November of that year. During 1943 and early 1944 he was at the Amphibious Training Base, Coronado, California, with the Landing Craft School, and in May 1944 reported to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, for duty as Inspector of Naval Material and Naval Inspector of Ordnance until 1946. For meritorious service in that assignment he received a Letter of Commendation, with authorization to wear the Commendation Ribbon, from the Secretary of the Navy.
During 1946 Captain Adams was Commanding Officer of USS Crescent City (APA 21), that duty continuing until September 1947, when he was ordered to the Staff of Commander Amphibious Forces, Atlantic Fleet, for duty as Operations Officer. He later served as Chief of Staff and Aide to Commander Amphibious Forces. On 15 April 1949, he reported for duty in the Bureau of Ordnance, Navy Department, Washington, DC.
In addition to the Commendation Ribbon, Captain Adams was entitled to the American Defense Service Medal with Bronze A; the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with three stars; the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal; and the World War II Victory Medal.