The President of the United States, authorized by Act of Congress,
March 3rd, 1863, has awarded in the name of Congress the Medal of
Honor to Sergeant First Class Bennie G. Adkins, United States Army.
Sergeant First Class Bennie G. Adkins distinguished himself by
acts of gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and
beyond the call of duty while serving as an Intelligence Sergeant
with Detachment A-102, 5th Special Forces Group, 1st Special Forces,
during combat operations against an armed enemy at Camp A Shau,
Republic of Vietnam, from March 9 to 12, 1966.
When the camp
was attacked by a large North Vietnamese and Viet Cong force in the
early morning hours, Sergeant First Class Adkins rushed through
intense enemy fire and manned a mortar position continually
adjusting fire for the camp, despite incurring wounds as the mortar
pit received several direct hits from enemy mortars. Upon learning
that several soldiers were wounded near the center of camp, he
temporarily turned the mortar over to another soldier, ran through
exploding mortar rounds, and dragged several comrades to safety.
As the hostile fire subsided, Sergeant First Class Adkins
exposed himself to sporadic sniper fire while carrying his wounded
comrades to the camp dispensary. When Sergeant First Class Adkins
and his group of defenders came under heavy small arms fire from
members of the Civilian Irregular Defense Group that had defected to
fight with the North Vietnamese, he maneuvered outside the camp to
evacuate a seriously wounded American and draw fire, all the while
successfully covering the rescue. When a resupply air drop landed
outside of the camp perimeter, Sergeant First Class Adkins, again,
moved outside of the camp walls to retrieve the much-needed
During the early morning hours of March 10, 1966,
enemy forces launched their main attack and within two hours,
Sergeant First Class Adkins was the only man firing a mortar weapon.
When all mortar rounds were expended, Sergeant First Class Adkins
began placing effective recoilless rifle fire upon enemy positions.
Despite receiving additional wounds from enemy rounds exploding on
his position, Sergeant First Class Adkins fought off intense waves
of attacking Viet Cong. Sergeant First Class Adkins eliminated
numerous insurgents with small arms fire after withdrawing to a
communications bunker with several soldiers. Running extremely low
on ammunition, he returned to the mortar pit, gathered vital
ammunition and ran through intense fire back to the bunker.
After being ordered to evacuate the camp, Sergeant First Class
Adkins and a small group of soldiers destroyed all signal equipment
and classified documents, dug their way out of the rear of the
bunker and fought their way out of the camp. While carrying a
wounded soldier to the extraction point he learned that the last
helicopter had already departed.
Sergeant First Class Adkins
led the group while evading the enemy until they were rescued by
helicopter on March 12, 1966. During the 38-hour battle and 48 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 had killed between 135 and 175 of
the enemy while sustaining 18 different wounds to his body.
Sergeant First Class Adkins' extraordinary heroism and selflessness
above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest
traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon
himself, Detachment A-102, 5th Special Forces Group, 1st Special
Forces and the United States Army.
Medal of Honor Ceremony
video | Bennie
Adkins' Heroic Story