Bennie G. Adkins
Command Sergeant Major, USA
Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. Adkins was born on February 1, 1934, in Waurika, Oklahoma. At the age of 22, he was drafted into the Army on December 5, 1956. Upon completion of initial training at Fort Bliss, Texas, he was assigned as an Administrative Clerk-Typist to a garrison unit in Giessen, Germany, with a follow-on assignment to the 2nd Infantry Division, at Fort Benning, Georgia. After attending Airborne School, he volunteered for Special Forces in 1961. He served with the Special Forces for more than 13 years with the 7th, 3rd, 6th and 5th Special Forces Groups (Airborne).
While in the Special Forces, he deployed to the Republic of Vietnam for three non-consecutive tours. His first tour in the Republic of Vietnam lasted from February 1963 to August 1963. His second tour of duty in Vietnam lasted from September 1965 to September 1966. His final Vietnam tour lasted from January 1971 through December 1971.
After Vietnam, Adkins served as First Sergeant for the Army Garrison Communications Command in Fort Huachuca, Arizona. He then joined the third class of the Army Sergeants Major Academy in El Paso, Texas. After graduation, Adkins served with the Special Forces at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and then led training at Fort Sherman's Jungle School in the Panama Canal Zone. He retired from the Army in 1978.
Adkins earned a bachelor's degree in 1979, a master's degree in Education in 1982 and 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. He also taught night classes at Southern Union State Community College for 10 years and at Auburn University for six years. Adkins has been married to his wife, Mary, for 59 years, and together they have raised four children.
Adkins received the U.S. military’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for actions in March 1966 during the Vietnam War. From March 9-12, 1966, Adkins distinguished himself during a 38-hour close-combat battle against North Vietnamese Army forces during the Battle of A Shau.
Adkins' previous awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star Medal with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster and "V" Device, the Purple Heart with two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal with Bronze Clasp and Five Loops, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with one Silver Service Star and one Bronze Service Star, the Presidential Unit Citation, the Meritorious Unit Citation, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with "60" Device, the Republic of Vietnam Bravery Medal with Brass Star, the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Bronze Star, the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm Device, the Combat Infantry-man Badge, the Special Forces Tab, the U.S. Army Master Parachutist Badge, the Vietnamese Parachutist Badge (awarded twice), the Expert Badge with Rifle and Pistol Bars, the Sharpshooter Badge with Carbine Bar, and the Marksman Badge with Machine gun Bar.
Adkins passed away on April 17, 2020.