SGM Bennie G. Adkins set the standard for excellence — as a man, as a soldier, as a business leader, and as a family patriarch.
In a September 2014 presentation ceremony at the White House, SGM Bennie Adkins received the Medal of Honor, the U.S. military’s highest award for valor— for his selfless and intrepid battlefield actions during the Vietnam War.
SGM Bennie Adkins existed humbly as a paragon of magnanimity who lived a life of copious service even after retiring from the U.S. Army. Upon completion of his military career, SGM Adkins tirelessly endeavored to render aid and assistance to the Alabama community he lived in, as well as to numerous Special Forces soldiers who came after him — through various educational scholarships.
While serving as a noncommissioned officer with the U.S. Special Forces in Vietnam, SGM Adkins played a critical roll in repelling enemy forces and preventing a violent rout of his outnumbered unit’s remote South Vietnam tactical position, during an ambush in the March 1966 timeframe.
SGM Adkins’ Medal of Honor citation read as follows:
“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 to 175 of the enemy and sustaining 18 different wounds.”
When American troops were eventually helicopter-evacuated from the smoldering combat objective, SGM Adkins was among the last holdouts to be airlifted as the battle concluded.
Bennie Adkins went on to complete three combat tours in Vietnam, and he retired from the U.S. Army in 1978 as a Command Sergeant Major.
After leaving the U.S. Army, SGM Adkins embarked upon a triumphant journey as a career business leader, a veterans advocate, and also as philanthropist. SGM Adkins enrolled in university classes and received a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees from Alabama’s Troy University — in education and management. SGM Adkins also founded an accounting firm.
SGM Adkins went on to teach education classes and enthusiastically urge and assist others to pursue higher education goals and opportunities as he had done.
In 2017, SGM Bennie Adkins established the Bennie Adkins Foundation — with the specific mission of providing scholarships to noncommissioned Special Forces officers to assist with their transition into civilian life after military service. Thus far, the Bennie G. Adkins Foundation has awarded roughly 50 educational scholarships, according to a member of the Adkins family.
On Friday 01 MAY 2020, SGM Bennie G. Adkins succumbed to complications from the Corona Virus at a hospital in his beloved Opelika, Alabama. He was 86 years old.
We thank this great American patriot for his service, his leadership, and the stellar lifelong example of human excellence he provided.