Brian Adkins ’20 has always been a history buff. When all of the other kids in elementary school were buying Garfield comics at the Scholastic book sale, Adkins said he wanted one about the sinking of the Titanic. He compared his attraction to history to how some people like math, saying it “just clicked” with him.
Adkins is a history major at University of Lynchburg, with an emphasis in American history. He has a minor in secondary education and plans to teach middle or high school history after he graduates.
Before he came to Lynchburg, however, the 28-year-old from Hurt, Virginia, spent four years in the U.S. Air Force. “When I was younger, I was always fascinated by military history, history in general, and I wanted to be a part of that,” he said.
Adkins, who worked in aircraft armament — “loading bombs,” he explained — went to basic training and tech school in Texas. He was stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota, from which he was deployed twice to Al Udeid, Qatar. Prior to those two, six-month deployments, he’d never been overseas.
Although Adkins wasn’t in an active war zone, he armed planes that were involved in military operations in Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan — Odyssey Dawn, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom. When it came time to re-enlist, he decided to leave the military. “I just wanted to do something different,” he said.
After he got out of the military, Adkins used his GI Bill to attend University of Lynchburg. “I really like the campus,” he said, adding that with the GI Bill he “wanted to feel like I was getting my money’s worth” by attending a four-year university.
He added that it also was “a pride thing.”