The Congressional Medal of Honor Society announces that Bennie G. Adkins, Medal of Honor recipient, passed away Friday, April 17, 2020, in Alabama at the age of 86.
Adkins was born in Waurika, Oklahoma, on February 1, 1934. He was drafted into the Army in 1956, and he volunteered for the Special Forces in 1961. Over the next 13 years, he served with the 7th, 3rd, 6th and 5th Special Forces and completed three tours in theater during the Vietnam War.
While serving with Detachment A-102, 5th Special Forces Group, 1st Special Forces during Adkins’ second tour in Vietnam, a 38-hour sustained attack on Camp A Shau began on March 9, 1966. Then-Sergeant First Class Adkins played a pivotal role in attempts to secure the base and hold off a much larger enemy force. Adkins also repeatedly placed himself in substantial danger in order to provide medical or evacuation assistance for the wounded. As the base was being overrun, Adkins led his group in destroying valuable evidence and equipment so it wouldn’t fall into enemy hands and in evacuating a wounded comrade. These delays meant that his group missed the last evacuation helicopter. Adkins then led his group in a successful 48-hour evasion maneuver and escape.
For his valor from March 9-12, 1966, Adkins was originally awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, which was upgraded to the Medal of Honor in a ceremony at the White House on September 15, 2014.
Adkins retired from the Army in 1978 as a Sergeant Major. He then received a Bachelors and two Masters degrees from Troy State University, started Adkins Accounting Services in Auburn, Alabama, and taught at Southern Union Junior College and Auburn University. He is survived by two sons, a daughter, and several grandchildren. Burial arrangements are pending.
ADKINS, BENNIE G.
Rank: Sergeant First Class
Organization: U.S. Army
Company: Detachment A-102
Division: 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces
Born: 1 February 1934, Waurika, Okla.
Departed: Yes (04/17/2020)
Entered Service At: Waurika, Oklahoma G.O. Number: Date of Issue: 09/15/2014 Accredited To: Place / Date: Camp A Shau, Republic of Vietnam, March 9-12, 1966
Sergeant First Class Adkins distinguished himself during the period 9 March 1966 to 12 March 1966 during combat operations at Camp A Shau, Republic of Vietnam. When the camp was attacked by a large Viet Cong force, Sergeant First Class Adkins rushed through intense hostile fire and manned a mortar position. Although he was wounded, he ran through exploding mortar rounds and dragged several of his comrades to safety. When the hostile fire subsided, Sergeant First Class Adkins exposed himself to sporadic sniper fire and carried his wounded comrades to the camp dispensary. During the evacuation of a seriously wounded American, Sergeant First Class Adkins maneuvered outside the camp walls to draw fire and successfully covered the rescue. During the early morning hours of 10 March 1966, a Viet Cong regiment launched their main attack. Within two hours, Sergeant First Class Adkins was the only man firing a mortar weapon. Although he was painfully wounded and most of his crew was killed or wounded, he fought off the fanatical waves of attacking Viet Cong. After withdrawing to a communications bunker where several Americans were attempting to fight off a company of Viet Cong, Sergeant First Class Adkins killed numerous insurgents with his suppressive fire. Running extremely low on ammunition, he returned to the mortar pit, gathered the vital ammunition, and ran through intense fire back to the communications bunker. After being ordered to evacuate the camp, all signal equipment and classified documents were destroyed. Sergeant First Class Adkins and a small group of men fought their way out of the camp and evaded the Viet Cong for two days until they were rescued by a helicopter. Sergeant First Class Adkins’ extraordinary heroism in close combat against a numerically superior hostile force was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.