Medal of Honor recipient Bennie Adkins has been hospitalized due to COVID-19, the Bennie Adkins Foundation announced Thursday evening.
Adkins, 86, is critically ill, the foundation reports.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has hit home,” the Foundation said in a Facebook post. “Bennie has been hospitalized and is critically ill with COVID-19 respiratory failure. We ask for your thoughts and prayers.”
Adkins, a retired command sergeant major, earned the Medal of Honor in September 2014 for his service during the Vietnam War. He 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.
While he was assigned to the Army’s Detachment A-102, 5th Special Forces, 1st Special Forces during his second tour in Vietnam, then-Sgt. 1st Class Adkins was involved in 38 hours of close-combat fighting near Camp "A Shau” on March 9, 1966.
“When the camp was attacked by a large North Vietnamese and Viet Cong force in the early morning hours, Sergeant First Class Adkins rushed through intense enemy fire and manned a mortar position continually adjusting fire for the camp, despite incurring wounds as the mortar pit received several direct hits from enemy mortars,” Adkins’ Medal of Honor Citation says.
Even while coming under enemy fire, he continued to rescue fellow wounded soldiers and was responsible for leading the team through the jungles of Vietnam until a helicopter came to evacuate them on March 12.
During the course of the battle, Adkins suffered 18 separate injuries and killed between 135 to 175 enemy forces, according to the Army.
“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,” Adkins’ Medal of Honor citation reads.
A total of 258 service members who served during the Vietnam War earned the Medal of Honor, according to the 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 also from Troy State University. Additionally, he launched Adkins Accounting Service, Inc., in Auburn, Alabama as he pursued his degrees.
Adkins has also earned the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star Medal, among other awards, per the Army.
Cases of COVID-19 have continued to rise over the past week. The U.S. now has more than 85,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Within Alabama, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there are nearly 400 reported cases of COVID-19.