FOLLOWING IN HIS MILITARY FAMILY’S FOOTSTEPS, MARK “BUBBA” ADCOCK SERVES AS A MASTER SERGEANT IN THE U.S. AIR FORCE
by JENNIFER JORDAN
Love of family and love of country have shaped Texarkana College adjunct professor Mark “Bubba” Adcock’s 33 years. As Master Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, Bubba has spent half of his life serving in the military, and the other half of his life growing up in a military family. Bubba knew that he was destined to follow in his family’s footsteps. His father served in the Navy, two uncles and a cousin in the Army, and one in the Air Force. Two great uncles were killed in combat in World War II.
After living in several states, including Connecticut, Washington, and South Carolina, Bubba’s father retired from the Navy, and the family settled in the small town of Oak Grove, Louisiana. Two weeks after turning 17, Bubba joined the U.S. Army. His father has always been a great influence. “I knew from a young age I wanted to serve in the military and do my part. I come from a large family and service to country was very prevalent,” Bubba explains. It was only six weeks after 9/11 occurred, and Bubba was assigned to the 528th Combat Engineer Battalion. In 2003, his unit deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan. “There were many nights spent sleeping on the ground in the middle of nowhere, eating MREs while we built Forward Operating Bases (FOBs). Our deployment lasted 15 months, and we came back home in February 2005. I was a young kid (19 years old) so being sent halfway around the world to a war zone was fun and exciting.” Bubba’s next mission in the Army National Guard kept him close to home—providing clean up and security for New Orleans following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. “The devastation was so massive we stayed down there until after the new year, around five months.”
However, a desire to finish college tugged at Bubba, as he had to stop classes each time he was deployed, and so he did not re-enlist after his New Orleans assignment. It was only six months before Bubba began to miss the military. A friend in the Air National Guard (part of the U.S. Air Force) encouraged him to try it out in Alexandria, Louisiana. In May 2008, Bubba enlisted in the Air National Guard for six years. He joined the 259th ATCS (Air Traffic Control Squadron) in the Electrical Power Production shop, working on generators. During his enlistment, not only did Bubba earn an associate’s degree in Mechanical and Electrical Technology from the Community College of the Air Force but he also received a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice with a Sociology minor from the University of Louisiana at Monroe.
Bubba has truly enjoyed serving in the Air National Guard. “Through my time in the Air Force, I have been blessed to go many places and really see the world. I have gotten the opportunity to go to Key West, Florida; Honolulu, Hawaii; New Hampshire, Iraq, and Germany for training. Last year, in 2017, 30 members of my unit and of our sister unit in New Hampshire joined forces and were deployed to Al Asad, Iraq, for six months. It was a really great experience, and I worked with some of the greatest guys and leaders in the Air Force on a zero-failure mission.” Bubba does note that his most recent deployment was different from his first deployment. “While the deployment was great, being married now and a bit older (32 when deployed) things were more challenging and being away from home for such a long period, in a war zone, was a different feeling than I had experienced when I was 19. “Thankfully, technology has advanced so much that we now can FaceTime and communicate much easier.”
When Bubba’s unit was not activated, he worked for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice at the Telford correctional facility, which “absolutely put me on the right path for success in teaching at Texarkana College. I was very blessed during my time at the Telford Unit in New Boston, and got to work with some great supervisors that allowed me to promote to Sergeant and attend numerous training classes to expand my knowledge of how corrections works.” During his time there, Bubba served as a Range Master and Line Instructor for the shooting ranges, Defensive Tactics Instructor, Training Academy Instructor, In-Service Instructor, and was also able to attend Edged Weapons course and ground defense courses. Bubba remarks, “It should be noted that the men and women that work in corrections are among the bravest, most dedicated, hardest working members of the law enforcement community. It is a job that very few people can do, there are very little rewards, and they are often overlooked, but they deserve all the accolades in the world.”
Bubba also recruited for the Telford Unit, which brought him to speak to college classes. After presenting to students at TC, Stephen Gass, the director of the Criminal Justice department, encouraged Bubba to follow his passion for teaching and to attain his master’s degree in Criminal Justice. After Bubba completed his master’s at the American Military University, Professor Gass offered him the opportunity to teach a Corrections (CJ 2313) class at the college. “It was an amazing opportunity, and I absolutely jumped at the chance.” Bubba has been teaching every semester since the fall of 2016.
When he is not teaching or training with the military (at the time of this writing, he is training in Florida), Bubba enjoys his family more than anything. He gushes about Jana, his “beautiful, smart, funny, and amazing wife who supports me and puts up with my nonsense.” Jana also helps Bubba with his wardrobe, as he claims to have “the absolute worst fashion sense, which must be why I am drawn to a job with uniforms.” Clearly, Bubba does have a good sense of humor.
Life has much more in store for Bubba when he and Jana welcome their first child, a boy, this September. The baby will be loved by many, as both Bubba and Jana come from large families, with 12 nieces and nephews between them – Rylon, Reagan, Silas, Deacon, Amelia, Aspen, Ezra, Emoree, Levi, Landry, Rhett, and Annie – who often spend time at Bubba and Jana’s home. Perhaps a fourth generation of Adcocks will serve our country. With a father like Bubba, the baby is certain to begin with a positive outlook, for Bubba regards life as “what you make of it.” With his rewarding career, strong work ethic, and caring family, no doubt Bubba will continue to craft a wonderful life.