Lt. Thomas Mullen Adams

27, of La Mesa, Calif.; assigned as an exchange officer with the British Royal Navy’s 849 Squadron; killed in a Royal Navy Sea King helicopter crash over the Persian Gulf.

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From the time he was a boy, Thomas Mullen Adams wanted to know all he could about ships and planes.

“A look in his room at the models and posters was only part of the story,” said his uncle Richard Adams. “Even when he was in elementary school he could describe in remarkable detail the performance and history of each.”

Adams, a 1997 graduate of the Naval Academy, was passionate about soccer. In 2002, he volunteered to go with the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk to Japan, where he knew the World Cup finals would be played. “He’s the kind of kid that if you had a very special daughter, you would hope that she could snag him,” said his aunt Elizabeth Hansen.

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