Waurika Native To Receive Medal Of Honor
Thursday, September 4th 2014, 7:20 pm
By: News 9
Last week, News 9 told you about an Oklahoma soldier from Coweta getting the Medal of Honor posthumously for his service in the Vietnam War.
Well, he's not the only one. Another soldier from Waurika will also receive the award for his actions in Vietnam.
Retired Army Command Sergeant Major Bennie Adkins was drafted into the Army in 1956 at the age of 22. He served in the Special Forces for more than 13 years and credits his training to how he survived the fiercest attacks.
At 80 years old, Adkins says he remembers everything.
“No, it is not a faint memory," said Adkins. "I can tell you every man who was there, and unfortunately, the ones who lost their lives, I can tell you how that happened.”
It was March 1966, during the Vietnam War, when Adkins endured 38 hours of close-combat fighting and was separated from the nearest friendly forces by more than 30 miles in dense jungle-covered mountains.
"We were better in the jungle, in the jungle warfare than the north Vietnamese soldiers who were indigenous to that area, so the jungle was really an asset to us rather than a detriment,” Adkins said.
Adkins ran through exploding mortar rounds and repeatedly exposed himself to sniper fire while moving injured men to safety.
Adkins killed an estimated 135 to 175 enemy men, while suffering 18 different wounds.
“In other words, it just was not my time that day," said Adkins. "I was blown from the mortar pit on several occasions."
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While Adkins was recovering in Vietnam, his wife Mary of 59 years says she was hoping for the best while watching grim reports on the news.
"Something just told me it was him," said Mary, who was only able to communicate to her husband through letters. "The women, now in this day, they can see their husbands; they can talk to them on the phone. I never knew where he was period."
Adkins survived and said he is humbled to receive the highest military honor: the Medal of Honor.
“A super humbling experience," described Adkins. "I want it known that I feel like the Medal of Honor belongs to the other Americans who were there, and especially the ones that paid the ultimate price,” Adkins said.
Adkins retired from the Army in 1978, has five children and now lives in Alabama with his wife.
He earned two master's degrees, and he established the Adkins Accounting Service, Inc. in Auburn, Ala., where he served as CEO for 22 years.
Adkins will receive the medal from President Obama on September 15 at the White House, along with another Oklahoman, Donald Sloat, posthumously.