By Joshua Huff, sports editor
WAURIKA, Okla. — Medal of Honor recipient Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. Adkins died on Friday of complications brought on by the coronavirus.
Adkins, a native of Waurika, Oklahoma, died with his family by his bedside, the Bennie Adkins Foundation announced on Facebook. He was 86.
“We are deeply saddened to notify you that after a courageous battle with COVID-19, Command Sergeant Major Bennie G. Adkins departed this life today, with beloved family at his bedside,” the Bennie Adkins Foundation posted.
A 20-year veteran of the U.S. Army, Atkins was first drafted into the Army in 1956 and went on to serve with the Special Forces for 13 years and complete three tours in Vietnam.
We lost a great husband, father and warrior today. Bennie G. Adkins passed away this afternoon. Please keep his family in your prayers. pic.twitter.com/SdndX1iWjT
— CSM Bennie G. Adkins (Ret.) (@BennieGAdkins) April 17, 2020
Adkins, a retired command sergeant major, earned the Medal of Honor in Sept. 2014 after fighting off enemy forces for 38 hours of close-combat fighting near Camp “A Shau” on March 9, 1966. Throughout his military career, Adkins also earned the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star Medal, among other awards, according to the Army.
“During the 38-hour battle and 48-hours of escape and evasion, fighting with mortars, machine guns, recoil-less rifles, small arms, and hand grenades, it was estimated that Sergeant First Class Adkins killed between 135 and 175 of the enemy while sustaining 18 different wounds to his body,” Adkins’ Medal of Honor citation reads. “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.”
After retiring from the Army in 1978, Adkins earned a bachelor’s degree from Troy State University, along with two masters degrees in education and marketing.
In 2017, he established The Bennie Adkins Foundation, with the mission of providing educational scholarships to Special Forces soldiers. Honoring Command Sergeant Major Adkins’ commitment to service, education, and to his Special Forces brethren, his eponymous foundation aims “to reward deserving soldiers who have demonstrated the courage, sacrifice, and patriotism inherent in the Special Forces, and aid them as they continue trying to improve themselves through education.”
Adkins is preceded in death by his wife, Mary Adkins, and is survived by his daughter, Mary Ann Adkins Blake, sons, Michael Adkins and W. Keith Adkins, as well as many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.