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A Legacy of Service and Family: MSgt Neely

  • Published
  • By Airman Lauren Torres
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

Master Sgt. Adam Neely, 97th Security Forces Squadron superintendent of logistics readiness, culminated his 21 years of service being retired by his daughter, 1st Lt. Samantha Collins, 81st Medical Group practice manager, at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, May 18, 2024.

"My great uncles served at Normandy, both at the same time," Neely recalls. "All my great uncles, except for one, and my grandfather, were in the Navy, Army, and Air Force."

His decision to join the military was deeply rooted in this familial legacy, despite initial reluctance.

“I did not want to go overseas,” he admits, recounting his early apprehensions. However, fate had other plans, leading him on a journey that spanned continents.

"I went to 19 different countries in my first two and a half years in the military," Neely shared. From deployments in Iraq to assignments in Japan and Arkansas, his path was marked by resilience.

Through the trials of military life, his family was an anchor. "I met my wife when I went to military police investigator school in Missouri," Neely reminisced. "We started dating, and she's been by my side ever since."

Their children, Samantha, Mason, Aniston, and Logan, symbolize a multi-generational commitment to service and sacrifice.

“My youngest is 15. I have a daughter who’s going to enlist in the Air Force, a son who is in the process of enlisting in the Army, and my oldest daughter, Samantha, was commissioned two years ago, and will be retiring me.” Neely said.

Being apart was no easy task for Neely and his family.

Neely looked back at a time when his son seemed to be at the center of all goodbyes. “My son, that poor guy, he was there when my wife dropped me off at the airport at Little Rock, [Arkansas] and then I never came home,” he recalled. “Fast forward a little bit longer and they took my daughter to the same airport for boot camp, then she never came home.”

Collins recalled the experiences of growing up in a military family, where her father's stories provided glimpses into his world.

"Although he didn't talk much about his work, the few times he did share stories, they were captivating," she reminisced. "His tales were filled with excitement, humor, shock, and occasionally, sadness. Those moments gave me a glimpse into the unique and often challenging world he navigated every day."

As Neely prepared to retire, he and his family spent their last days at Altus AFB with a retirement ceremony that was filled with traditions, the occasional humor break, and a heartwarming tale of service from his daughter.

In describing her father, Collins’ words are filled with admiration and love.

"If there is one thing I could share about my dad for everyone to hear, it's that I wish everyone could meet him," she reflects. "His kindness, integrity, and unwavering support have shaped who I am today, and I am grateful for every lesson he has taught me."

Neely signs off his story with a few words of encouragement: “Being where I’m at now, it’s nice to see what the Air Force has provided me,” he said. “I would recommend to anybody to stick it out. It’s worth it in the end.”