Early Thursday morning America lost a true patriot. There may not be any national recognition for the passing of Talmadge “Pete” Adcock, retired Mastery Gunnery Sergeant of the United States Marine Corps; however, those that knew him, loved him and had great respect for his decorated service.
Pete, age 82, passed from this life after battling pancreatic cancer for several months. Using the term “lost” in this battle for life would disrespect the strength, courage, and valiance with which he faced and fought it. Losing was never part of his vocabulary and shouldn’t be reflected in how he is remembered. He was a winner in both life and death as he knew Christ and the power of the resurrection.
Pete grew up in a rural farming community located in northeast Louisiana where they believed in hard work and understood what it meant to sacrifice. Rayville, that special place in Richland Parish, helped mold a young boy into an American hero. He was born there in February 4, 1934. Pete enlisted in the United States Marine Corp at the age of 18. With sheer grit and determination, he attained the rank of E-9, the highest achievement for an enlisted Marine. He served his country honorably, completing two tours in Vietnam and one in Korea. During his second tour in Vietnam, Pete and other Marines were involved in a brutal fire fight after which they had a head count. Realizing a Marine was missing and not willing to leave one man behind, Pete and another Marine returned into the jungle to locate him. They found the Marine, who had been shot in the stomach, bringing him out safely. For this act of bravery Pete was awarded a Bronze Star with a combat “V”. He was equally proud of the respect he earned from the men who served under him in the jungles of Vietnam. Pete was also awarded a 2 Navy Commendation Medal one with combat “V”. Like many others from this era, he may not have received all the recognition he truly deserved due to the politicization of the wars being waged against communism. However, he refused to allow it to make him bitter, only better.
After retiring from military service that had required him to be away from Louisiana for so many years, Pete was able to return home. He became an entrepreneur and opened Pete’s Dairy Cream in Rayville, a very successful hamburger and ice cream establishment. Pete was active in the local community as a businessman and sponsored youth sports programs, especially softball. After enjoying many years of success, he sold the business and had planned to retire. However, a call from his brother-in-law, “Cotton” Guthrie, prompted him and his wife, Maxine, to relocate to her childhood home, Minden. Pete and Maxine immediately began managing Cotton’s Louisiana Fried Chicken on the Shreveport Road. Pete forged great relationships with the working men and women in this area. Many from Fiberbond, Ruskin, and Inland Container (among others) would join him for lunch weekly, if not daily.
Pete’s nephew, Jonathan Guthrie, related memories of watching the business grow under Pete’s leadership. “I was usually there every Thursday during my college years. I would clean up, stock, and perform small maintenance projects for him. By offering me the opportunity to work, I was able to earn the extra money needed to complete my college education. He always fed me well while we discussed the politics of the day. But more important than the money, the food, or the conversation, I learned a few life lessons that were more valuable than most of my college classes. His common sense approach might have been on display for free but one might argue more valuable than most diplomas. I watched him interact with customers, showing a genuine interest in them and conveying appreciation for their patronage. I took note as he worked hard alongside his employees, while encouraging and motivating them to accomplish the goals of quality and service. He valued his people and modeled a strong work ethic. Even when problems arose, I saw them handled with dignity, honor, and respect. When he thought no one was looking, I witnessed him feed the homeless and underprivileged. Pete was plenty strong to be a marine but soft enough that he didn’t ever miss the chance to make a difference.”
After the years of military service and successful business ventures, Pete refused to go quietly into retirement. He stimulated his mind by reading and paying close attention to current events. Pete was active daily at the ALPHA House, often acting as a mentor or sponsor. He spent time at the nursing home providing mobility for those confined to wheel chairs and spending time in conversation with others hoping they would not feel forgotten. Small in stature but tall in strength of character, purpose, and patriotism, Pete will be remembered. He loved God, family, and country. Vince Lombardi said, “Most people fail, not from lack of desire, but lack of commitment.”
Pete was committed. He was always there for his family, friends and church. Pete’s pastor, Jeff Ramsey, at City on a Hill – First Pentecostal Church, told of how he awoke from a dream just over a week ago. In the dream he heard these words, “Hero!, Hero!, Hero!, Hero!, Hero!,” over and over again. He said that he awoke with Master Gunnery Sgt. Pete Adcock on his mind.
America lost another representative from the greatest generation, a pastor lost a faithful parishioner, a nephew lost another of his mentors, Minden lost a friend, and his family lost a patriarch.
“Semper Fidelis!” Always Faithful