Alabama Vietnam War hero who survived multiple battle wounds dies from COVID-19 complications

Published 4:19 pm Monday, April 20, 2020

OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) — Bennie G. Adkins, who received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroism during the Vietnam War, died from complications from COVID-19. The Bennie Adkins Foundation announced the death on social media Friday. He was 86.

Adkins served more than 20 years in the U.S. Army with 13 of those years spent as a Green Beret. He was deployed to Vietnam three times and was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2014 for heroism in a 1966 battle.

According to the Medal of Honor citation, Adkins carried wounded soldiers to safety — sometimes drawing fire on himself to allow the wounded to be rescued— and fought off waves of attacking forces.

“During the thirty-eight hour battle and forty-eight hours of escape and evasion, fighting with mortars, machine guns, recoilless rifles, small arms, and hand grenades, it was estimated that Sergeant First Class Adkins killed between 135 and 175 of the enemy while sustaining eighteen different wounds to his body,” the Medal of Honor citation read.

Following retirement in 1978 at the rank of command sergeant major, he graduated from Troy University and founded an accounting firm in Alabama. He lived in Opelika, Alabama.

He is survived by three children and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.