Adkins is receiving the nation’s highest Military honor for actions performed 48 years ago, during a battle in the A Shau Valley in Vietnam. At the time, Adkins was a Sergeant First Class serving as an Intelligence Sergeant with Detachment A-102, 5th Special Forces Group, 1st Special Forces at Camp A Shau, in the Republic of Vietnam.
During a 38 hour period, March 9-12, 1966, Adkins suffered 18 separate wounds when the camp was attacked. At the start of the attack, Adkins braved enemy fire to man a mortar position in order to help defend the camp. Adkins also put himself at risk multiple times to help wounded soldiers, and to move casualties to an airstrip. On multiple occasions, Adkins left the safety of the camp’s walls to retrieve much needed supplies, each time putting himself at risk from hostile fire.
During the enemy’s main assault, Adkins again manned a mortar. After the first two hours of the battle, Adkins was the only American still firing a mortar. Despite enemy mortar rounds landing several direct hits on the position, wounding Adkins multiple times, he fired the mortar until he was out of ammunition.Adkins then manned a recoiless rifle and concentrated fire on the Viet Cong who were infiltrating the perimeter of the camp.
Adkins and the remaining small group of soldiers took up position at the camp’s communications bunker. From the bunker, Adkins defended that position with small arms. He even made an extremely dangerous excursion to get more ammunition.
When Adkins and the remainder of the camp’s soldier were finally given the order to evacuate the position, they destroyed all classified materials in the bunker, and retreated for a helicopter rescue.
Intent on leaving no man behind, Adkins carried a wounded soldier, causing Adkins and a small band of soldier to miss their pick-up. After their fierce battle, Adkins and his comrades evaded the enemy for an additional 48 hours in the jungle, before being rescued.
During the 38 hour battle and 48 hour evasion, the actions of then-Sergeant First Class Adkins went above and beyond the call of duty. It has been estimated that the soldier single handedly killed 135-175 enemy combatants, while sustaining of his own, and saving dozens of lives.
Adkins, now 80, will be joined by his wife and four of the soldiers that served with him in the Shau Valley, as he received the nation’s highest military honor.
Adkins served 22 years in the Army, from 1956-1978. Not only did this brave soldier survive his ordeal, but he continued to serve. He even went back to Vietnam for another tour of duty. Adkins served three tours in Vietnam 1963, 1965-66, and 1971.
Military Connection would like to congratulate retired Army Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. Adkins on his Medal of Honor.
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Military Connection: Vietnam Veteran to get M.O.H. By Debbie Gregory