Bennie G. Adkins

Bennie Adkins was drafted into the Army in 1956, attended airborne school and volunteered for Special Forces in 1961. He served with the 7th, 3rd, 6th and 5th Special Forces Groups (Airborne) and retired in 1978 as a Command Sergeant Major with the 5th Special Forces Group.

In spite of the 18 wounds he sustained in the four-day battle at Camp A Shau, Adkins rescued many fellow soldiers and killed at least 135 enemy fighters as he fought off waves of North Vietnamese fighters and evaded Viet Cong forces in the jungle.

Adkins received a Distinguished Service Cross and other medals in the aftermath of the battle, but an act of Congress allowed the waiver of time constraints to award the Medal of Honor to Adkins, now living in Alabama, on September 15, 2014. For a video of the ceremony, click here.

Citation: 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.