Story of Sergeant First Class Bennie Adkins.

Sergeant First Class Bennie Adkins, a member of Detachment A-102, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
Camp A Shau, Republic of Vietnam
Command Sergeant Major Bennie G. Adkins (far left in photo) distinguished himself during 38 hours of close-combat fighting against enemy forces on March 9 to 12, 1966. At that time, then-Sergeant First Class Adkins was 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.
When Camp A Shau was attacked by a large North Vietnamese force in the early morning hours of March 9th, Sergeant First Class Adkins rushed through intense enemy fire and manned a mortar position defending the camp. He continued to mount a defense even while incurring wounds from 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, Adkins exposed himself to sporadic sniper fire and carried his wounded comrades to a more secure position at the camp dispensary.
Sergeant First Class Adkins exposed himself to enemy fire transporting a wounded casualty to an airstrip for evacuation. He and his group then came under heavy small arms fire from members of the Civilian Irregular Defense Group that had defected to fight with the North Vietnamese. Despite this overwhelming force, Adkins maneuvered outside the camp to evacuate a seriously wounded American and draw fire away from the aircraft all the while successfully covering the rescue. Later, when a resupply air drop landed outside of the camp perimeter, Adkins again moved outside of the camp walls to retrieve the much needed supplies.
During the early morning hours of March 10th, enemy forces launched their main assault. Within two hours, Sergeant First Class Adkins was the only defender firing a mortar weapon. When all mortar rounds were expended, Adkins began placing effective rifle fire upon enemy as they infiltrated the camp perimeter and assaulted his position. Despite receiving additional wounds from enemy rounds exploding on his position, Adkins fought off relentless waves of attacking North Vietnamese soldiers.
Adkins then withdrew to regroup with a smaller element of soldiers at the communications bunker. While there, he single-handedly eliminated numerous insurgents with small arms fire, almost completely exhausting his supply of ammunition. Braving intense enemy fire, he returned to the mortar pit, gathered vital ammunition and evaded fire while returning to the bunker. After the order was given 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.
Because of his efforts to carry a wounded soldier to an extraction point and leave no one behind, Sergeant First Class Adkins and his group were unable to reach the last evacuation helicopter. Adkins then rallied the remaining survivors and led the group into the jungle – evading the enemy for 48 hours until they were rescued by helicopter on March 12th. During the 38-hour battle and 48-hours of escape and evasion, Adkins fought with mortars, machine guns, recoilless rifles, small arms, and hand grenades, killing an estimated 135 – 175 of the enemy and sustaining 18 different wounds. 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.
You just do. Quitting isn’t an option. That’s what you train for. In the jungle environment, we became better than some of the North Vietnamese soldiers.” – Bennie Adkins
Sergeant First Class Bennie Adkins
Command Sergeant Major Bennie Adkins was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2014 for his actions during the 2-day battle of Camp A Shau in 1966 and the subsequent harrowing escape through the jungle to safety. During this epic battle, then Sergeant First Class Adkins bravely fought off repeated close-quarter attacks by thousands of North Vietnamese Army (NVA) soldiers that had surrounded his base. Despite being wounded numerous times, Adkins undertook many perilous missions to recover air-dropped supplies within minefields and recover wounded comrades while under heavy fire. His firing of the camp’s 81mm mortar, directing airstrikes over the radio, and use of other short-range weapons were instrumental in driving back several NVA assaults that had breached the camp’s defenses. MOH Museum
Sergeant First Class Bennie Adkins, a member of Detachment A-102, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), distinguished himself during combat operations at Camp A Shau, Republic of Vietnam, between March 9th to 12th, 1966. When the camp was attacked by a large force of North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and Viet Cong soldiers, Adkins rushed through intense hostile fire and manned an 81mm mortar position. Despite being wounded, he ran through exploding mortar rounds and dragged several of his comrades to safety. When the hostile fire subsided, Adkins exposed himself to sniper fire and carried the wounded to the camp dispensary. During the evacuation of a seriously wounded American, Adkins went outside the camp walls to draw fire and successfully covered the rescue. During the early morning hours of March 10, 1966, a NVA regiment launched their main attack. Within two hours, Adkins was the only man firing a mortar weapon. Although he was painfully wounded and with most of his crew killed or wounded, he fought off the attacking North Vietnamese. After withdrawing to a bunker where Americans were attempting to fight off a company of NVA regulars, Adkins killed numerous enemy combatants with his suppressive fire. Running low on ammunition, he returned to the mortar pit, gathered ammunition, and ran through intense fire back to the bunker. After being ordered to evacuate the camp, all signal equipment and classified documents were destroyed.
United States Marines firing a M-29 81mm mortar from a mortar pit in Vietnam. Adkins directed fire from a similar weapon during the Battle of Camp A Shau (USMC Archives)
Because of his efforts to carry a wounded soldier to an extraction point and leave no one behind, Adkins and his group were unable to reach the last evacuation helicopter. He rallied a small group of men and they fought their way out of the camp and evaded pursuing NVA soldiers for two days until they were rescued by a helicopter. Their escape was aided by Adkins’ sawed-off shotgun and by the unexpected intervention of an Indonesian tiger. Adkins maintained a sawed-off 12-gauge shotgun that he used as a sidearm. During their retreat Adkins rigged his shotgun to function as a make-shift antenna for his damaged radio; the field repair worked, and Adkins was able to radio their location to friendly forces. It was during their second night in the jungle, surrounded by NVA troops, that something unexpected came to their aid. Fatefully, a tiger had been hunting nearby and its presence frightened off the enemy, giving Adkins and the others room to quickly create a landing pad for a rescue helicopter the following morning. The helicopter found them, the men scrambled aboard, and were taken to safety.
Adkins began his service in the US Army in 1956 and retired in 1978. He served with the Special Forces for more than 13 years. Adkins earned his bachelor’s degree from Troy State University, in 1979. He earned his master’s degree in Education, in 1982, and then, a second master’s degree in Management, in 1988, all from Troy State University. Simultaneous to pursuing his degree programs, he established the Adkins Accounting Service, Inc., in Auburn, Alabama, serving as its CEO for 22 years.
The Giant Killer book & page honors these incredible war heroes making sure their stories of valor and sacrifice are never forgotten. God Bless our Vets!🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s