Bennie Adkins, American hero, and beloved Alabamian dies after COVID-19 illness

Local News

LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WRBL) – An American hero and beloved Alabamian has passed away after a three week battle with COVID-19.

Bennie Adkins, our community’s respected Medal of Honor recipient passed away Friday afternoon according to his family at East Alabama Medical Center where he had been hospitalized since late March. 

He will be deeply missed.

Bennie Adkins Foundation

Friday afternoon, The Bennie Adkins Foundation Facebook Page shared the following statement:

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.

A native of Waurika, Oklahoma, Sgt. Maj. Adkins served more than 20 years in the U.S. Army, over 13 of those years spent as a Green Beret in 7th, 3rd, 6th, and 5th Special Forces Groups. He deployed to Vietnam three times, his heroic efforts in one 1966 battle later recognized in 2014 with the awarding of the Congressional Medal of Honor. His Medal of Honor citation in part reads:

“During the thirty-eight hour battle and forty-eight hours of escape and evasion, fighting with mortars, machine guns, recoilless rifles, small arms, and hand grenades, it was estimated that Sergeant First Class Adkins killed between 135 and 175 of the enemy while sustaining eighteen different wounds to his body.”

“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.”

Following retirement in 1978 at the rank of Command Sergeant Major, he went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree and two Master’s degrees from Troy University, later building an accounting firm which he headed for 22 years until the time of his retirement.

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.”

He is preceded in death by his wife, Mary Adkins, and is survived by daughter Mary Ann Adkins Blake (David), sons Michael Adkins (Christine), and W. Keith Adkins (Jaime), as well as many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Bennie Adkins Foundation


Our mission is to honor the legacy of courage, sacrifice, selfless service, and patriotism inherent in the Special Forces by providing educational scholarships to worthy soldiers to aid in their transition from military to civilian life.

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