Command Sergeant Major Bennie G. Adkins was born 1 February 1934 in Waurika, Oklahoma. He was drafted into the Army on 5 December 1956. While assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Benning, GA, Adkins volunteered for Airborne School and Special Forces. As a member of Special Forces, Adkins served three non-consecutive tours in Vietnam during his 22-year career.
Adkins distinguished himself during 9-12 March 1966 by risking his life in a 38-hour battle while serving as Intelligence Sergeant of Detachment A-102, 5th Special Forces Group, 1st Special Forces at Camp "A Shau" in the Republic of Vietnam. He would distinguish himself further in a 48-hour period after the "A Shau" battle. On 9 March 1966 a large North Vietnamese and Viet Cong force attacked the "A Shau" camp. Adkins rushed through intense fire to man a mortar position. Although suffering wounds from enemy mortar attacks, Adkins would fight with mortars, machine guns, recoilless rifles, small arms, and hand grenades, killing an estimated 135 to 175 enemy soldiers. Adkins also exposed himself to danger in leading a group that included wounded men to escape and evade the enemy for 48 hours until it could be evacuated.
President Barack Obama presented CSM Adkins with the Medal of Honor in September 2014. His other awards include the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star Medal, Bronze Star Medal with an Oak Leaf Cluster and "V" Device, the Purple Heart, and Vietnam gallantry awards. He also has the Combat Infantryman Badge, Special Forces Tab, and the US Army Master Parachutist Badge.