'I felt like I owed it to the voters'

'I felt like I owed it to the voters'

SWEET HOME, Ore. - From Sweet Home to southwest Afghanistan, it was a packed summer for Captain Mike Adams.

The Oregon Air National Guard member managed to combine guard duty with local school business.    

Fortunately these days, body armor or rifles are not the tools for Adams when he goes to school board meetings.

But just a few weeks ago, the Sweet Home resident filled two roles in a most unique way.

Helmand Province in southwest Afghanistan:  For Captain Mike Adams of the Air National Guard, his front line was not in a foxhole but in the courtroom.
  
"I'm glad that I did it and I'd do it again," Adams said Tuesday from the Sweet Home school board room.

Adams was a JAG officer, a judge advocate general.   He advised local police chiefs, Afghan prosecutors and judges to improve the police and justice system.

"That works towards fairness and eventually, hopefully, will result in a system much like our own," explained Adams.

While Mike Adams wasn't on full patrol, he says he faced plenty of danger. Three times a week he would walk from base camp near Hazar Joft to the government center.

"We'd go on this dismounted patrol and you'd wear body armor and a helmet, and I had an M-4 rifle and an M-9 pistol," he said. "You just never knew."

Last year, Adams was elected to the school board in Sweet Home, a role he didn't want to give up.

"I felt like I owed it, you know, I almost owed it to the voters," Adams said.

Thanks to the magic of his laptop and an Internet connection (provided by the U.S. State Department), Mike Adams was at the school board via Skype, even if he had to wake up early Tuesday mornings, Afghan time, to attend.

Adams called the meetings on Skype a surreal experience,

"Other school board members voting on stuff back in Sweet Home, Oregon, was very different than sitting there next to your body armor with your M-4."

Mike said he hopes he's fulfilled his duty both to a school system and to a better Afghanistan court system where "everybody's accountable to the law - police officers and the government included."