How long do you think you could last to hold off enemy forces if the fate of the entire world was in your hands? 

For Command Sergeant Major Bennie G. Adkins, he’d gladly do it for as long as he could. He proved that to be true when he spent 38 hours fighting off the North Vietnamese force and another 48 hours escaping the invasion and evacuating his wounded soldiers. He did all that while suffering from 18 different wounds himself, an action that would earn him a Medal of Honor.

Deployed to Vietnam

Bennie Gene Adkin’s journey started when he was born in Waurika, Oklahoma. He was 22 when he was drafted into the Army on December 5, 1956. After his initial training at Fort Bliss in Texas, he was tasked to work as an Administrative Clerk-Typist in Giessen, Germany. Adkins was assigned to a garrison unit with a follow-on assignment to the 2nd Infantry Division at Fort Benning, Georgia. He then volunteered for Special Forces after attending Airborn School in 1961 and for the next 13 years of his life, he served the Special Forces with the 7th, 3rd, 6th, and 5th Special Forces Groups (Airborne).

Adkins was deployed to Vietnam for three non-consecutive tours while in the Special Forces: the first was for six months, beginning in February 1963. The second tour started in September 1965 and lasted for a year. The last one was from January 1971 until December that same year.

Second Tour

His second tour in Vietnam was when the most remarkable actions would happen. On March 9, 1966, then-Sergeant First Class Bennie Adkins was at Camp A Shau, serving as an Intelligence Sergeant with Detachment A-102, 5th Special Forces Group, 1st Special Forces. 

Their early morning hours were welcomed by a large force of North Vietnamese soldiers attacking them. Sergeant Adkins did not waste a second and rushed amidst the hail of enemy fire to man a mortar position to defend the camp. 

The enemy mortars hit him on a few occasions, and he incurred wounds from them. But Adkins was undeterred. He continued fighting. When he heard that several soldiers were wounded, he left his position and had another soldier man it so he could run through the mortar rounds and onto his wounded comrades’ position. Without hesitation, he dragged several of them to safety. When the hostilities subsided, Adkins exposed himself to the enemy snipers so he could carry the wounded soldiers to a safer area.

U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. Adkins. [Source: Wikimedia]