Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Adam (Joseph A.) McSween dies of injuries from I.E.D.

YORK -- U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Adam McSween was killed in Iraq on Friday, April 6, where he was serving as a demolitions specialist. McSween was also a 2003 York College graduate.

McSween and two others were killed by an IED (improvised explosive device) that hit their humvee, according to college officials. As of press time, the U.S. Department of Defense had not yet issued a formal release regarding the casualties.

His wife, Erin (Hammitt) McSween, is also a 2003 graduate of York College. They have two young daughters, Lilly and Gwyneth.

"Adam was just a very likable guy," says Steddon Sikes from the public relations department at the college. "His big smile, mixed with his southern charm, made it easy to be around him. I remember that when he first arrived in York for a leadership camp -- he didn't know a soul except through phone conversations with several of us in the admissions office at the time. I believe an alum had pointed him in our direction. It was a rarity to have a student from Georgia, but Adam wanted to attend a small Christian college where he wouldn't feel out of place. Nebraska was almost too far away from home; however, he was willing to give it a try . . . especially after he made quick friends during that first visit. He was a bit on the shy side, but he genuinely loved people and seemed to take it in stride that he was the center of attention with his pronounced southern accent. He will be greatly missed."

Eric Eckert, also a 2003 graduate of York College, said McSween was a "really nice guy. And it seemed like he was always involved in everything that was going on at the college.

"Adam was just a really caring person, always compassionate of others," Eckert said. "And it seemed like he was always in a good mood."

Jared Stark, now assistant dean of students at York College, was one of McSween's friends while he attended college here. The two of them met as students at the leadership camp Sikes referred to. Stark said he was contacted by a mutual friend of his and McSween's on Friday -- that's when he learned that his friend had been killed.

"Me and Adam -- we met in the summer of 1997, during the Advance Leadership camp, and we were friends for about three years while we were at York College together. What do people remember most about him? Definitely his smile . . . and the kindness he always showed to others.

"He always talked about going into the military," Stark said. "He was very driven to join, and he went to a lot of training sessions. He even tried to get into the Navy SEALs. He was very willing to serve his country and was committed whole-heartedly to doing so."

"Adam met and married his wife here, and now they have two little girls," said York College president, Dr. Wayne Baker. "And we picked him out of a high school class . . . with every incoming freshman class, we pick a few we feel may be prospective leaders. And he was one of those. We knew early on he was a special guy. We're family, here at York College, and when one of us falls, we all hurt."

Arrangements are being made for several services -- in Oak Harbor, Wash., where his wife and daughters are currently residing; in Valdosta, Ga.; and then finally in York for interment.

"Yes, he will be buried with full military honors at Greenwood Cemetery," said Dr. Baker. "I talked to his wife an hour or so ago, and she told me that when he was first deployed, they sat down, wrote a will and talked about what to do if the worst should happen. They agreed that they would both be buried at Greenwood Cemetery in York. She told me that this is the place they consider home and I was pretty amazed. This was where they met, fell in love and this is the place she said they call home."

"I would hope that . . . well, I can say with confidence that York College will participate in honoring him," Stark said. He didn't know in what capacity the college would be participating in the soldier's funeral, "but I've talked to several people about what we can do."

Dr. Baker said that as far as a date and time for the funeral service -- that information is not yet available.

"She (Erin McSween) said she hasn't heard from the military, as far as when services will be able to be held," Dr. Baker said yesterday afternoon. "They are trying to expedite getting his body out of Iraq and that hasn't happened yet. She's hoping that the service will be able to be held here in the middle or latter part of next week."

From the News Times