The continuing conflicts in the Middle East and the manner in which the younger generations of American warriors responded to their call to duty, and their demonstrated bravery and patriotism must lead us to one indisputable conclusion, …. A significant quantity of today's generation is ready and able to defend America and perpetuate established military traditions as well as any who fought before them. They have earned our gratitude and respect. Those who served in these wars against Muslim radical terrorist are American Heroes.
Marianna resident Steve Adkison ranks with the best of them. He served bravely in the Iraq Wars, Desert Storm, the Somalia humanitarian intervention, and the 1994 U.S. Occupation of Haiti following military coup and removal of elected President Jean Aristide.
Steve Adkinson looks like a Marine. His tall, muscular frame combines with a pleasant, reassuring air of confidence and determination. It is obvious that after the Marine Corps had trained and molded him into a soldier, he was well prepared to do his duty. It is difficult to get Steve to talk about his experiences while in these war zones. “I had rather put those memories into my past and concentrate now on the future,” he states.
Steve was born in Milton, Florida in 1972. He was raised in Milton and graduated from Milton High School in 1990. His Mother is Carol Dickenson, who currently resides in Hollywood, Florida. Steve has one brother and 2 sisters.
Immediately after graduation from high school, Steve joined the U.S. Marine Corps. He was sent to the famous Marine training center at Paris Island, South Carolina for his basic training. After becoming a full fledged marine he was sent to the School of Infantry at Camp Lejune, North Carolina. He was trained in being a forward observer, calling in close air and artillery support for ground operations, and clearing mine fields for armored vehicles and troops. After completion of that school he was immediately sent to Iraq to take part in Desert Storm.
Steve describes the choking air environment which existed for weeks in Kuwait as a result of the many oil wells which were set afire by the retreating Iraqi army. He was assigned to 1st Battalion - 6th Marines. His unit was out front as the forces moved across the desert on its way to Baghdad and the deposition of Saddam Hussein. His unit was part of Task Force Ripper. Their role was primarily clearing paths through the heavily mined areas so that troops and supporting armor was able to advance. Often they were under artillery fire as they performed their duties. Steve recalled one instance when an armored vehicle became entrapped in razor wire and was stopping progress. Under fire, he ran to the vehicle and cut the wire to free the vehicle.
After Baghdad was taken and Saddam had fled to be found later hiding in an underground bunker, Steve was pulled back to Okinawa. Then the conditions in the Somalian civil war had worsened to a point that allied forces were called in to provide humanitarian assistance to the thousands of refugees which were crowded into camps and living in famine conditions. The government had completely collapsed and the country was being ravaged by tribal war lords who plundered and killed thousands of innocent Somalian citizens.
While in Somalia Steve was involved in distributing food to the starving refugees. “It was terrible,” Steve explains. “We would give the food to the starving families and almost immediately government soldiers would use force to steal the food from them for their own use.
Steve also worked and fought with the unit portrayed in the popular movie now being shown, “Lone Survivor'. Steve knows some of the Marine hero's who were characters in that movie.
Finally Steve came home, almost at the end of his eighteen month tour. However, before his separation date arrived, Steve was called back to take part in an operation which was required in Haiti after a military coup had removed the democratically elected President Jean Aristide. Mob rule had erupted on the Caribbean island, and an American supply ship had been forced away from the Port au Prince port. The marines of the 1st Battalion 22nd Infantry, 10th Marine Division came ashore in an operation named “Operation Uphold Democracy”, took control of the Port au Prince airport and seaport, and restored Aristide to office.
Steve separated from the military at the end of his tour, which occurred while he was on duty in Haiti. He returned home and began attending Gulf Coast College where he played on their baseball team. He then transferred to the University of Alabama in 2000. After college he began working in the booming construction industry, remodeling homes.
He then met a wonderful Jackson County girl, Georgeann Smith, who was the granddaughter of well known Coach George Riley. They married in 2007, just as the housing bubble burst and the construction industry was almost shut down across the nation. In 2007 Steve and Georgeann took over operation of the long time Italian restaurant in Marianna, Tony's Restaurant. The near depression national economy finally resulted in them closing the restaurant in 2009.
At the present time Steve Adkison is a member of the Sales Department at Marianna Toyota. He has one son, aptly named “Riley” Adkison.
We all owe Steve a debt of gratitude for his valiant service as a U. S Marine. Steve, we salute you!