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Surface warfare officer Adams retires after 40 years in uniform

by Staff Reports
18 December 2019

After 40 years of faithful service to the Nation, U.S. Navy Cmdr. Coy Adams said farewell to his friends and colleagues in a retirement ceremony aboard the USS Wisconsin Oct. 25.

Before the ceremony, he recounted his exciting journey from enlisted electronics technician to commanding officer to war game coordinator.

“I started my 17-year enlisted career and advanced through the ranks of electronics technician chief petty officer in 14 years,” Coy said. “The highlights included earning Sailor of the Year for USS EMORY S. LAND (AS 39) in 1989, Sailor of the Year in 1992, Military Citizen of the Year in 1993, and Athlete of the Year in 1994, all at NAS Oceana in Virginia. This is where I was initiated and pinned on chief petty officer.”

After a promotion, Adams spent five years as an electronics material officer. During that time, he was re-designated as a surface warfare officer and he completed a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology of electronics.

Recognition in the chief petty officer ranks and taking command of Beachmaster Unit TWO top his list of career highlights.

“The pinnacle of my career was being selected and accepted into the chief petty officer mess/ranks, because I had worked so hard for that recognition most of my enlisted career. I always wore one of my Anchors on my uniform, conspicuous of course, just to keep me in check on my humbleness. I also value command of Beachmaster Unit TWO. Given the opportunity to lead, train, and test young Sailors and to watch them succeed, advance, and grow personally was the most rewarding aspect of my entire career.”

Adams stayed in the Navy over 40 years to accomplish three things, only wavering in his commitment to stay one time.

“Ironically, I only came in the Navy to accomplish three things. First, I wanted to get electronics training and separate, and then I wanted to travel around the world as much as possible for 6 years. My third goal was to try to contribute to the peace and tranquility of the United States.”

“Only once did I consider leaving the Navy,” Adams said. “It was at the 33-year mark, after my last sea tour onboard USS STERETT (DDG-104). We took STERETT onboard her maiden deployment, receiving the Spokane Trophy Award and two consecutive Battle “E” Awards, and we led some of the Navy’s finest Sailors that you will ever encounter. Deep down inside, I knew it was time to retire, so I chose a shore duty for my next tour: Center for Surface Combat Systems Unit, Dam Neck, Va. Before leaving STERETT, I did the noble and most nautical thing a Sailor can do on his last return from sea. I tossed my combination cover into the San Diego Harbor; a fitting to end my sea tour from which it started, in San Diego, Ca.”

His career, however, was not meant to end there. When he arrived in Virginia, he was selected to command Beachmaster Unit TWO.

“Never, never did I envision that this lifestyle would grow on me….but the actual decision came when I met my wife Gina,” Adams said. “She grew up in a Navy family and encouraged me to stay. We married shortly after I achieved the rank of electronics technician first class. I have truly enjoyed my Navy career, and I would stay around if they would let me.”

“Ending my service at NWDC gave me the opportunity to summarize my entire career into the development and coordination of operational and tactical war games that will enhance our forces for the great competitors on the horizon,” he said.

Adams has been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (six awards) and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (six awards), in addition to various campaign and unit awards. He is married to the former Gina Marie Hall and they have three children and two granddaughters.


NWDC develops and integrates innovative solutions to complex naval warfare challenges to enhance current and future warfighting capabilities. Command professionals are focused on operational-level concept generation, warfighting development, and cross-domain integration to strengthen U.S. Navy warfighting power.

For more information, contact NWDC Public Affairs,, (757) 341-4240.

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