The Library of Congress Veterans History Project Home 
Experiencing War: Stories from the Veterans History Project
Home » Text Transcript

Interview with Bennie G. Adkins [11/14/2014]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Right.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Okay, I am Bennie Adkins, and I was a Sergeant First Class in 1966 when I was initially recommended for the Medal of Honor.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Oh well, I will tell you what, this was, this was quite a life. I was born and raised in the small town in the Midwest by the name of Waurika, Oklahoma, and I was raised on a farm, with a large family. And living on the farm, we learned to work, we learned to be conservative, and with a large family, we learned to share.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Well, my parents are, hardworking farmer and my mother was a very hardworking woman, not only raised seven children, but her role in life was a housewife and preparing the food for that many.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Well, I was right in the middle of the order. I had three older and three younger, we were a total of seven children in our family.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Yeah, there were six boys and one girl. Like I said, the boys were, the oldest was a boy, then my sister was number two, then I was, then I had a brother that is number three, and I was right in the middle at number four. I had three older and three younger siblings.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Well this is...

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Well the farm was primarily row cropping, we were growing vegetables, we were growing cotton, we were growing corn, and always had livestock. We had a livestock dairy and some dairy cattle and at that time period, we did not sell the whole milk, we sold the butterfat from the milk. We would take the butterfat milk and that was sold to make butter.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Come into part ____.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

I have one brother that served in the Marine Corps in World War II, but no it was not, you see there is a little story that goes with the way I become a soldier. And what it amounted to, I began college and I will tell you what ____. Real good-looking girls in college and I was more interested in the goodlooking girls than the academic work. And so I had a little problem they call probation. Yup, I come out on probation and my father told me, he said “you know son I maybe wasting my money on you, sending you to college, so we will try it one more time.” The second time probation came, he said “I think it is time for you to go to work.” So, what I did not realize at that time, that there was a state law that if you dropped out of college, you went immediately to the head of the draft list. So I dropped out of college and went to work and shortly there while, I was drafted in to the military. Well, as entering the military, I found rapidly that it was not a real bad profession, even though this was the year 1956 and 1957, which was post Korea days. I was rapidly promoted to Sergeant E5, and this happened within the first 20 months so I said, well, would make this a career. I said the military is not a real bad profession so without changing my mind too often, I said I will just re-enlist at 6 years at the time. So I did the essay and then they said I was administrative-type of an individual. And I said this administration is not for me, I said I want to be a little more active unit, so I was transferred from Germany back to Fort Benning Georgia, that even the infantry unit back at Fort Benning Georgia said this is not quite enough activity for me. So I started studying just a little about the army special forces. And I said, I think I will apply for the Special Forces. I applied for Special Forces and was accepted and transferred to Special Forces in 1961. And in 1961 after about a yearandahalf in the special forces training, they finally said, you know I am qualified to be Special Forces in to be duly and at that time period, they said you get to wear the full green beret. This was something that was a prestige symbol for us even to the point at that time period. The president of the United States authorized the green beret for the army Special Forces, and I was even selected to be the honor guard at the ceremony that officially authorized the official use of the green beret to Special Forces. So like I said, this was, this was an honor, which I did not realize at that time period that it would become an honor, but I thought it was just another detail to do, so...

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

This is President Kennedy.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

I have decided since I wanted to be in military career, that I wanted to be the best that I could possibly be. And at this timeframe, I felt that the Army Special Forces was the absolute most elite unit in the military and I was fortunate enough not only to be accepted, but to fully qualify for all the provisions of training for that unit.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

They really, really felt, I felt like there was some pride, but there was also some apprehension on the dangers involved, yes. They were away, we live at a longer, greater distance apart, and I do not think that they really knew the type of training and the dangers and so forth involved with the training.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Absolutely. That is uh, that is my understanding, sir.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

No. I did not have knowledge of this based upon the fact that the majority of our family food was raised on the family farm to not only to include the vegetables, but to include the animals and so we are, no, we did not uh, as children we did not realize that the country was in a depression.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

The Special Forces training was trained at that time period toward the Middle East and my initial reaction was I was training to go to an organization in Laos and this was changed right at the last minute and the Special Forces 18 that I was assigned to instead in Laos was reverted to Vietnam and this was in early, the training was in the latter part of 1962 and my first trip in Vietnam was, began in February 1963 and at that time I went into the country in civilian clothes.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Uh, yes we were and the mission that we had at that time period was what was called the Civilian Irregular Defense Group and what this was, was with the Vietnamese Special Forces and we were advisors to the Vietnamese Special Forces and we are training the civilian forces to protect their own villages and our primary mission was to go in and to train a group then move to another area and repeat the training process.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

That uh, that would kind of be a tough question. First of all it is absolutely a different country and a different culture.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Okay. When I first got to Vietnam, I felt that it was absolutely a different culture. The different way of thinking and we were working with some minority groups in the country itself and really made it more difficult based upon the fact that sometimes we were having to work with two or three interpreters to get to the group of people that we were working with.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Uh, I do not think complex would be quite enough. Huh, I believe it, let us say a new world.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

A Shau Valley and A Shau Valley was a valley that was in the northern part of the area of South Vietnam and right near and bordered the Laotian Border and some of the valley did run into the country of Laos, which made it a little more difficult because the southern country of Laos was not an enemy of the U.S. or an enemy of either the North Vietnamese or the South Vietnamese government at that time.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Number one the location of the Special Forces Team A102 was right in the A Shau Valley. The A Shau Valley was in an area of a jungle, mountainous area with triple canopy vegetation and what it become known is right in the middle of the Ho Chi Minh trail. The team that I was assigned to and there is a little story goes with the way that I was assigned to this team, I was sent to Vietnam on my second tour and this was a second tour that I was there and the side major come after me and said, “Hey Bennie I want you to be my intelligent sergeant at the C team.” Now keep in mind that the C team are the real A Shauan people. Today, you know, maybe I am going to finally get a good assignment and so I arrived on the site and the sergeant major said “hey Ben I have got bad news. He said the intelligent sergeant at A102 was mid evac’d yesterday. He said Sergeant Earl Beatty was hit and had to go back to the States. He said I am going to have to divert you and send you there.” Well, I was on the site in this camp for about a little better than 100 days before we were attacked and everyday there it seemed like I was fired on by the North Vietnamese. This is the way they liked to zero their weapons so this was a super hot area and come to find out we had some indigenous soldiers there that were training and many of those soldiers had been taken from the Saigon jails and sent there because as a form of punishment because there were no place to go. The only way that you could get to that location was by air because they, the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong owned the roads and owned the jungle so they were sent there and this in itself will show a little later that one of the companies during the battle decided to switch sides and fight with the North Vietnamese during the battle.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Yes. The number one was that was a major infiltration route not only for personnel from North Vietnam, but more to supply the North Vietnamese armies that was in the South Vietnam area. There was a major re-supply route.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

It’s the Ho Chi Minh Trail, yes, and like I say, it was such at a point that it would be bombed everyday and they have had thousands of night rebuilding, and yes we, you know that was my job. I had large numbers of North Vietnamese units located to the point that we knew that we were eventually going to be attacked and the reason that we knew this is that we had some North Vietnamese soldiers give up, come in, and surrender to us prior to this. My interrogation with them revealed that a large part of the 325 Bravo Division was going to attack us in the bad weather, which it did happen as defectors indicated.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

The beginning of the attack was we could hear the digging in foxholetype positions outside the camp in large numbers and we were in a situation where the illumination that we had was strictly from mortars because the weather was so bad, we could not get air support, and then on 9 March 1966, the battle began where we were receiving heavy mortar fires from 82-mm mortars and 120mm mortars and receiving heavy fire from RPGs, and this developed in into a full scale battle where units were assembled and we were assaulting the complex itself.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

The structure of the camp...Well, I guess you would say the structure of the camp was a triangle with an airstrip at the wide part of the triangle. Airstrip was built with pierced planking the PSP-type metal for the strip and that run right to the front gate of the camp, and we had dug entrenchments all the way around the triangle, and they were attempting to rebuild the camp prior to the attack.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

No, the landing strip would be on let’s see...Yes, it would be only on the east side of the strip. The wide part was facing the east. The landing strip actually were on the north and south, as the A Shau valley were north and south, yes.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

The first attack with the mortars, they were super accurate. They destroyed most of the positions. The only positions that were not destroyed in the initial attack was the positions that had enough overhead cover to withstand the mortar fire and our team house, the American’s team house, the Vietnamese special forces team house, our ____ and all was destroyed immediately in the initial attack and what we found in this initial attack, then they would lit up and then a unit would come in, normally a company-sized unit, and this unit would get in place. There would be a heavy barrage of artillery fire placed on the camp and a mass assault through this and most of the minefield had been destroyed that was surrounding the camp had been destroyed by the artillery fire to such a point that the minefield was very ineffective against the mass assault, and there was a couple of things with the mass assault that needs to be noted and one was the company-sized unit of the North Vietnamese would assemble then get ready to assault and you would hear the soldiers chanting and so forth, and the first time or two their commander would pop off a little green star cluster and they will going to be a mass assault, and many of them knew they were going to be killed, but they were required to make the assault and first two to three of those, we were able to stop the mass assault and one in particular that I enjoyed myself and this was one of the before the assault, there would be a heavy amount of mortar fire thrown on our camp, and at one time, we heard the soldiers outside start chanting again and that the mortar fire just began so I happen to have a little green star cluster, and I popped this cluster off and hear the whole company of North Vietnamese soldiers come right in to their own fire. So they destroyed one of their own companies for us just based upon utilizing their own way of assaulting. So this ____ repelled this particular attack.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

A green star cluster is just a little handheld type of device that would just pop up in the air in short distance and some type of signaling what might have to be the best definition of it, yes.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

That is correct. It is a visual type of signal that was utilized at a time or two before to start the attacks, so I thought we would just try it again, and it did. They attacked right into their own overhead fire.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Oh yes, that’s correct. That’s both day and night. It continued and they had just about the shelling and just about destroyed all of our mortar positions except in some way mine and I was fortunate that my alert position was an 81mm mortar position and from that mortar position, my mortar crew, indigenous mortar crew, we were blown from our mortar pit on three different occasions and unfortunately, my mortar crew was killed and wounded to the point that I had to find other indigenous personnel to help me with the mortars and supplying the ammunition and so forth to continue firing the mortars and the mortar was damaged to such a point that one time I did take a, I reinforced the ____ with some ammunition from the wood from the mortar boxes to get them rid the mortars would fire, but then...

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

I was in the Southern Central part of the triangular camp and the buildings were of ____ roof and some canvas type of exterior and they were destroyed by the mortar fire to such a position that from my firing position I had access to one of the main attack areas, which was the South ____ of the compound and then from the mortar positions now, we run in 2 or 3 other items at that time period. Already in the battle are Master Sergeant Gibson, our team sergeant, which hit bad and I had some of his duties also and assuming his duties as they senior NCO of the company, of the attachments then I had to work in that capacity also, and with this eventually we had a little light fixed wing aircraft landed in the fog and we are putting, Master Sergeant Gibson took him out of the compound on the vehicle and put him into the little fixed wing aircraft and at this time we were not only being fired on in the North Vietnamese outside of the camp, but like, I said A141 company inside the camp decided to fight with the North Vietnamese and at that time find they got a little round into my leg, but we were able to get Master Sergeant Gibson onto the aircraft get him out and he was recovered to such point that he served three more tours in Vietnam. So that was a very successful force, but...

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Absolutely.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Absolutely.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

We knew. Yes. And because of this, this allowed the North Vietnamese to penetrate the camp and from this then they began several other activities, which really create a major problem for us and one was when they had Sergeant Bradford from the A503 that was hit fairly hard and we needed to get Sergeant Bradford medical evacuation and we did this by an Airforce helicopter that coming in, made a landing right into the camp, and this helicopter was shut down in the camp. Destroyed in the camp. Another helicopter of the similar type coming in and we were able to get Sergeant Bradford and some of the severely wounded onto the helicopter and I went aboard this Airforce helicopter and got the looking round and there was 2 or 3 of our indigenous soldiers that were not injured that wanted a trip or ride out. So getting those off, one of the soldiers, one of our supposedly friendly soldiers locked and loaded on myself and Sergeant Bradford in the aircraft. He made a mistake of standing up in the aircraft by the door and the North Vietnamese shot him and killed him through the door. So the North Vietnamese soldiers helped me that day. So like I said it was not my day at that particular day and we were able to get Sergeant Bradford in a helicopter load of severely wounded out on a medical evacuation.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Yes that was the first that I realized that when outside the camp to put Master Sergeant Gibson in the fixed wing aircraft.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Okay.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

That is correct. Yeah.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

They...

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Well, basically what it amounted to is that you could tell immediately that some of the indigenous soldiers that we were supposed to be training to protect their own villages were sympathetic to the other side and we could determine this by some. In other words, if one of the trainees was a little too better qualified, you begin to ask questions why and how, and we come to find out that there was a soldier that had been infiltrated into the system from the Vietcong or the North Vietnamese army and this did show up initially not only in our training in the daily, we were able to determine that some were sympathetic to the enemy and have them removed from the system, but some of the...

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

I bet mine is on but...

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

I bet mine is on also. I might as well turn it out ____.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Mine will be next now. Marianne will be calling me next when she ____.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

How would you like my high-tech phone?

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Well, number one, the way that I determined this was a hard way. They said when we went outside of the compound I put Sgt. Gibson in the back of a little fixed-wing aircraft. He was severely wounded with a head wound when I did this. I had found out they were sympathetic the hard way because one of them shot me in the leg, then it come from inside the camp and not outside the camp. So, at this time, then the entire 141 company converted to the North Vietnamese because they felt like at this time that the North Vietnamese was going to wean the battle.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

One company of the three companies did, yes.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

I would say probably 75-80 and that is 75-80 with one company. They were down to that strength level and that they become soldiers for the North Vietnamese at that timeframe.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Well, they had become enemy’s soldiers at that time and unfortunately they tried that. That was our job at that time in depending ourselves. If they attack, then they become enemy. Did not have any, there is nothing else we could do, but try to eliminate the enemy soldiers. I could say I have respect for the enemy soldier that puts his life on the line also. So, he was doing the job for what he felt was right and those individuals that were with us who switched to the other side were treated the same way. If one of them fired on us, then we did our best to eliminate them.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Well, this would be very difficult, but I can get it down to a few items that was involved in personally and these, each of the other 16 special forces soldiers who were there were involved in the other activities that I feel was as heroic as what I was involved in and that is my personal feeling with this and I want it to be known that the medal that I wear is not for me, but it is for those other 16 special forces soldiers that are highly trained warriors and with special emphasis to the five that paid the ultimate price that gave their life for this country and our way of life.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Yes, yes I do. I know the names. I know how they were killed and the valorous acts that they were involved in.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Well, those five: Number 1 in A102 we had two individuals and that was Sgt. Owen McCann. Sgt. Owen McCann was communication’s man. He went outside the bunker to protect the bunker and was killed by small arms fire. Then, we had Spc. 5 Phillip Stahl. Phillip Stahl was a Special Forces medic, a highly trained medic. He was wounded, tagged to be medically evacuated and refused to be evacuated because of the large numbers of casualties and he was attempting, and he died on a machine gun. Stahl was recommended for a Silver Star and they determined that he should be wearing a Distinguished Service Cross, which I firmly agree.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

After, there were two, then in A503, which was the Mike Force Team that was in. We had a man there by the name of Jimmy Taylor and Jimmy was wounded very seriously and died outside the camp on a stretcher. Then we have Staff Sargent Billy Hall on the Special Forces medics and Billy Hall was, unfortunately Billy have both legs blown off and we could not stop the blood and Billy Hall continued assisting mentally directing the indigenous medical personnel in the treatment of wounded and Billy Hall was recommended for the Medal of Honor and this Medal of Honor was downgraded to Distinguished Service Cross. He died a hard death with this, and then we have, let us see, Raymond Allan. Raymond Allan was hit super hard and was killed instantly from a mortar round. So, they were the five that paid the ultimate price and they deserve this around my neck rather than me.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Ah yeah. Yes. Yes, we did get him to the fixed-winged aircraft and got him aboard and safely evacuated. Another like I said was Sgt. Bradford into the helicopter and ____. Unfortunately, I was with Billy Hall. Billy Hall was the soldier that had both legs blown off and I worked a lot of time with him trying to stop the blood on the wound and was unsuccessful in stopping this. We attempt, all we have some blood expander and it did not do the job on eliminating this and like I said, he eventually succumbed from his wounds. Another that I assisted with was Phillip Stahl, with his help and was able to help him to the point that he returned back to his duties and was killed later on firing a machine gun inside the camp.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

By first aid on his wounds and the best that I can remember, he was wounded with a shoulder wound and we were able stop the blood on it and he did go back. Another individual that I assisted with, this was another situation a little bit later where he was one of our junior people at this time and he went with me back to the mortar pit in the later part of the battle and we were in a situation where a North Vietnamese soldier was on top of him and he wanted him as a prisoner and I was able to get the North Vietnamese soldier off of him and we were able to patch him enough that got him back and he was in the battle and later become a commissioned officer, a helicopter pilot, and spend additional time and additional tours there as a helicopter pilot and then was a teacher at Fort Rucker Alabama and retired as a field raid officer and then thought as a civilian instructor down in Fort Rucker and he and his wife attended the ceremony 48 years later with me as my guest and super individual, super American, and we feel like that this was very successful. This is one that assisted just little and this is the man by the name Wayne Murray and I said that Major Murray retired as a great American and still they are ____ great is my guest at the ceremony in Washington with me.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

At this time, he was a specialist five ____.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Yeah, yeah. That is something he would have done for me, it just happened that is the way it worked. The North Vietnamese soldier have him down, wanted him as a prisoner and I was able to get the North Vietnamese soldier off of him and then we were able to patch Wayne up to such a point that he then physically and mentally was able to continue the battle.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Absolutely.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Well, he was...he did...

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Specialist Murray, 48 years later retired Major Murray and his wife joined me in the ceremony as my guests at the White House and at the Pentagon. In these ceremonies and made worthwhile to me and my family as my guest 48 years later, yes.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Like I said, it just not for my time, we were eventually receiving a resupply drop from our higher headquarters and they did a good job with this resupply drop off. Because the weather was so bad, they made the drop, but it landed in the minefield. Well, I have an indigenous, one of my indigenous mortar crew to go with me in the minefield to recover some ammunition. We did this and went back and the indigenous soldier was hit real hard, so he was a little fellow, then weighed about 90-100 pounds, I put him on my back and we went back into the compound from the minefield. When I got back into the compound, he had been riddled with bullets from the North Vietnamese and again, he being on my back saved my life. He was hit and killed on my back and I was slightly wounded through his body and like I said, again, it was not my day. I take another indigenous mortar crew and went back in to the minefield to get some water. I have two water cans and the North Vietnamese soldiers were having fun with me. This time, they were not shooting at me, they were shooting at the water cans. So, when I got back in the camp with the water can at each hand I did not have much water. They have shot the cans full of holes, but able to get some of the water and enough that we could survive with this. So, again, it was not my day to be killed and I was able to recover not only the ammunition, but the water from the minefield, the resupply drops and with a, uh, with enough ammunition and water to continue the fighting. One of the other instance in this then once, the North Vietnamese were in the camp with us. The North Vietnamese decided that they wanted to engage in a little hand grenade fighting. So, the first few hand grenades, they were either over the Mortar Pit or a little bit short and finally they got one in into the Mortar Pit with this and one of the indigenous mortar crews with me tried to play soccer with it. He lost a leg, and I received some heavy shrapnel from this. The next, the next uh, grenade they got in with us, I was able to pitch it just outside the Mortar Pit and that did not do any damage either way. Then, a short time later, one came in. I have seen it coming in there and I was able to catch this grenade in the air. I sent it right back from where it came from. We received a little air burst and the North Vietnamese lost interest in the, in the mortar, in the hand grenade fighting at that time with it, so, that accomplished what we needed to do. They quit hand grenading, as one, got one right back where it came from, so, this, this was, this did end the citation and I feel like uh, this was not my ability. It was pure luck that I caught it and sent it back to them, yes.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Playing baseball did help, since I was a high school catcher. See, that did help out a little, yes.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

This was.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Okay.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Yeah, all right.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Yeah, there is, there is a little story with the Golden Glove ____. I was a high school student this time and I did not realize it, but I had a, a couple of boxers come in from the university working with us in the high school level and then they bought a couple of gas stand and one of them was a old professional boxer and he went to work a little with me. I did not realize it at the time, but, uh, he was, uh, doing an exceptionally good job with the little high school boxing team and so, my mother decided that I had boxed enough and she said, “you know, that is enough of the boxing.” She said, “no more”, but I was kinda a little bit, I was about 15, 16 years old and you know at that stage, you think you know what was best. So, I entered a boxing tournament without my mother’s permission and against her permission and the sad part about this is that I won the boxing tournament. The Golden Gloves Tournament and was on the front page of the paper and of course, that, my boxing career was over when my mother has seen this. So, no more, no more boxing and I did not even get to advance in the Golden Gloves.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Because of the publicity, see, from this.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Thank you.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Yeah. Yes. I did receive. I did receive a pair of boxing gloves from my younger brother, and he thought this was more appropriate at this time that the boxing gloves be shown up, especially since uh, this was something that my mother, my mother definitely won this uh, this boxing match, yes.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

They, uh, and one said it was at an isolated area where we could not get the air support that we needed to support this camp because of the bad weather and could not. The only way I could say this is that we were in a situation where we were greatly outnumbered by a superior force with superior arms and ammunition. The only thing that saved us was the training and ability of the Special Forces soldiers that were there and leading a few of the indigenous personnel that was superior of the 400 and something, about 420 something of the indigenous personnel all there. After the battle, I understand that about 120 were eventually evacuated and all those 120, most of them were wounded. The others were killed.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

That.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Okay, this was uh, this was exactly correct. It was a large, uh, large force, like I said, We were attacked by 2 regimens of ____ invasion. Superior force and they were estimated that we killed somewhere between 1000 and 1200 of the enemy soldiers and uh, they, they paid the price for removing us from the middle of their infiltration root and we...

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Okay, good. Let me see. Let me get a tissue.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

First time. First time this year.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

So, I apologize to you, sir.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Yeah, and...

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Uh, no. We did not, we did not feel this, uh. We really felt that we could, uh, hold the camp or we had made up our mind that we were not going to be taken uh, as prisoners alive and we were ordered to evacuate the camp after a 38hour battle. And uh, they were, we were told that they were going to attempt a helicopter rescue. My understanding at the task, a Marine Corps helicopter unit to attempt to rescue, and they come in with 18 of the old CH-34-type helicopters and only 8 of them were able to get on the ground. The other 10 were destroyed in the air uh, prior to the uh, evacuation and myself and the executive officer, which was First Lieutenant Mari and he was a fine West Point officer. We went back in to the compound to get Special Forces soldier that was severely wounded on a stretcher and when we did this and arrived, there were no helicopters available so we had to...in the jungle. This...

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Evade the enemy at this time. They control, they control the area. They control in the camp. They control the area outside the camp in numbers, and we were ordered to evacuate the camps so the only concern was that we destroyed the classified documents in the camp, and we did this. And then leaving, leaving the camp one of the, the things that I remember and, was that when I was leaving the camp one of the North Vietnamese soldiers jumped up in front of me, fired into me and I was fortunate enough that his round lodges it, lodged in the magazine of my M16 weapon. This round lodged there and I happened, the only way that my weapon was fired was the one round that was in the chamber. Lodging in there, stop this and I was able to take this magazine. It had the AK-47 round embedded in it, but they would not let me bring that home with me as a souvenir. I wanted this. This round in the magazine, it saved, saved my life again it hit the magazine and not me. So, that was on the way out and like I said we, I had the one round in the chamber that was able to eliminate, eliminate that one soldier who paid. He paid the ultimate prize for missing hitting my magazine rather than me and on the way out unfortunately, I become dislocated with Lieutenant Mari. He assembled a group of indigenous personnel and moved them out in another direction and I went with five, with the commanding officer of the MIKE Force Team who was severely, severely wounded. He could not talk or hear at this time because of the rounds exploded so near him and on him, and we were able to evade the enemy, but unfortunately Sargent Jimmy Taylor died a short time there later in the jungle. And we marked him for evacuation at that point and recorded where he was left, and we continued the evacuation into the camp, into the jungle. And this time I was able to utilize a little FM radio that I had, ____ at this time, it had a nomenclature of HT-1. It was just a short round H, a short round FM radio, and this was in our communications at Special Forces utilized in the camp, and the little radio I had, the antenna was shot off of it and I was able to stand in water, utilize my weapon as an antenna and communicate with the Special Forces support soldier what was in an aircraft that had every frequency of the radios that we had, and they were able to locate us. We caught a little pad for helicopter and at this time, it was myself and Captain Sam Carter of the MIKE Force Team, and 5 Chinese ____. The helicopter come in where we cut the little pad that come in to pick us up, and it was shot down. So there were two of the helicopter crew was injured and another helicopter come in and picked up the two, on strings, picked them up and they were, that is all they could take in that altitude and they carried the two wounded helicopter crew out and we had to go again. And this is the night where the North Vietnamese soldiers had us surrounded. They had run us down. They had us surrounded in the jungle, and this is the night where we started hearing a noise and then we begin to see the eyes surround us, and this is the night that the tiger surrounded us, and this tiger could smell the blood on us, and surrounded us, and the North Vietnamese soldiers that had us surrounded was more afraid of the tiger than they were of us. They backed off and gave us room and we were gone again. I do not get credit for this, this story. Odyssey magazine published in it in 1966. So, it is, we were picked up the next day by helicopter, cut a pad, picked up, and the weather broke and we are on the way, and the North Vietnamese what was remaining of their unit was bombed, for I understand for 2 or 3 weeks and just about completely eliminated from existence based upon the information and their locations with, with the enemy. And the sad part about this, not only was the many of the friendlies wounded and killed in this battle, but I understand in the after action report that eventually, it had said that 37 US aircraft was destroyed in supporting this battle.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Get ready for this, but I love cats. Yeah.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Nah, yeah. I love cats as of today, especially large cats. So...

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

They...I...

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Into the jungle. I was not involved much with the activities of the helicopter evacuation because like I said I had gone back in the camp to get one of the Special Forces soldiers that was severely wounded. And I understand it was a turmoil to such a point that it in itself unfortunately made some, some mad publicity to the point that I understand that some of the, some of the friendlies were shot off of the helicopter or to that they had overloaded to such a point that in turmoil that they could not, they could not lift off the ground. And I understand that, some of the, some of the Marine Corps crew shot the some of the friendlies off of the aircraft. The only way that they could get them off and get the aircraft in the air.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

This was published and was part of the...

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Become part of the after action report, which unfortunately I have no knowledge off because I was back in the compound getting...

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Getting myself...

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

I am not part of that story because I do not have, I do not have the knowledge of this. I only read about it in the after action reports.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

I, I feel like that is a range of behaviors that our forces are seen today in the Middle East. That at least, this week, understands that they are allied with us and next week they are leading a resistance against us. Oh, I feel like that this is something that is happening today and unfortunately, there is no solution to this at this time.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Uh, that is absolutely correct. We attempt to do the job that we were trained with, the job that we are tasked with at this time in the best and the most professional manner that we know how and this is my recommendation that I pass along to the young soldiers today. It says try to be the best that you can be in whatever you are doing and when you are down range, keep your head down.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Yeah.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Oh, we had no choice, but to take him into the jungle with us in the evasion of the enemy and what we call the ____ and unfortunately he succumbed a short time later.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Oh it was such a jungle. There was a triple can, a big jungle, damps force were like and just hot, humid, hot-humid jungle.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Yes.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Yes.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Well, what we found in the jungle, I tell you what it become, the jungle become our ally. We determined after a short period of time that we were better suited and better trained in the jungle than the North Vietnamese soldiers were. So the jungle was really an ally to us and, and we were, found that we are a better jungle fighter than the North Vietnamese soldiers.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

The tiger was the best. Yes, yes. Well, the tiger was our biggest ally, yes.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

We were lifted out by helicopter and this time we are then back in the families and I was sent for a short time out on a hospital ship. They treated, they treated our wounds and then I had a mission for about 10 days or 2 weeks of going with the MAC force personnel and this was a very bad detail where I was going to the South Vietnamese soldiers that were killed and going with, next to the family and like I said this was a super bad detail and then when we gone to the hall of the families that we knew about with this, then I was just sent back to another Special Forces camp and we were doing the same thing in another area, went into and we sit in with, as replacements into our team and we were working then at the Special Forces camp into doing the similar type of thing into another area.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Right, I would say on this that the total lapse time was probably about 5 or 6 days, a little bit less than a week and I was moved into a friendly camp and this was in the way Phu Bai area and what was the most difficult at that time is that I wanted such a large amount of food and tried to eat the food and could not and that was, and then after a few days in, two or three more days in, I could not get enough food. My stomach had then began to expand again to the point that even today I still cannot get enough food. Hahaha.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Yes.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Oh, at the hospital ship primarily I was treated they said for 18 wounds and primarily I had a wounded, I had an eye that was infected from one of the wounds and this was what the specialist, that they treating me for and like I said the 18 wounds were some of where severe wound, some minor wound, but I was ambulatory and like I said at a short time later, I was back out in the jungle, doing the same thing again.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

I feel like each of those were doing the same thing that I was doing...

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Special Forces soldiers, absolutely.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Yeah. I feel like each of those Special Forces soldiers that were highly skilled and highly trained individuals, they were doing the ones that were still ambulatory was doing the same thing that I was, and I feel like that they were as should have been identified the same way that I was, and I feel like that I wear this medal for them, and like I said, especially the five that paid the ultimate price.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Well, I understand that during the battle, the battle was 38 hours, and during that battle, I feel like all of the Special Forces people that was ambulatory was doing the same job that I was. They were fighting. They were fighting to such a point that there were tremendous acts of valor, and they were all recognized for this as I was from that battle. I understand eventually, there were seven Distinguished Service Crosses award and from those, they were all super deserving and I understand that the commander of the Marine Corps helicopter unit was ordered and Navy Cross for that battle. So, the seven Distinguished Service Crosses and the Navy Cross awarded to my knowledge and they were super deserving. Then, the battle itself was each of the individuals was individual acts of valor that was performed by the Americans and then the same applied to the individuals that was ____ into the jungle and we were fortunate enough that all of the remaining 16 was eventually evacuated with the exception of one, and one of the individuals, Jimmy Taylor... His body has not been recovered as of today yet.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

For me, it was 48 hours and I feel like that was probably the longest of those.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

The evasion action lasted about 48 hours for me, and I understand that I was one of the last to be evacuated out, yes, and that was, like I said, after 48 hours in the jungle. Keep in mind now that the jungle was an asset to us. We felt like we were better in the jungle than many of the North Vietnamese soldiers.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

There were good old tablets that you always carried with you. ____ made it drinkable, yes. They made it safe.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

I was back in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and I was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross, which I wore with pride for 48 years, and I was informed on June 11, 2014 by a call from the Department of Army, and I was told that a high government official would be calling me at a certain time and I really felt maybe it might have been the high government official that is calling me that was wanting some additional information maybe on a body or so of an American that I might have some knowledge of. And on June 11th, the president of the United States called me and the president of the United States called me and told me that he had approved the Medal of Honor for me and that this was based upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Defense and this award they wanted to congratulate me and told me that his staff would be calling me later and the staff called me, and at this time, they placed a gag order on me and that was especially difficult for the wife and daughter.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Absolutely. Number 1 was that Colonel Dave Blair who at that time was the camp commander, and the battle commander as a captain retired as a senior colonel and he would not give up on this. Also, there happened to be a retired Air Force master sergeant that picked this up, a man with a name of Don Turner, who was a minister and he worked on this off and on, I understand, for about 6 years and getting this upgraded and did a lot of the administrative work on this and there were people that would not let it die based among the fact that many felt that the valor was so common with Special Forces people that they have felt it was worthy of the Medal of Honor and they would not let it die and they worked super hard to get this upgraded from. Because initially it was recommended but it was never at the level to be approved.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Yes.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

It was such a humbling experience. He felt like that of all the people there that my acts of valor was deserving of the Medal of Honor, and he felt like the people on the ground that made that recommendation should have the final authority rather than ____ on people that approved or disapproved this.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Yes, he was a Special Forces medic. And they felt like, should have been awarded the Medal of Honor. And one thing also involved with this, the air force pilot Bernie Fisher, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his action of coming in to that camp during the battle, picking up a down pilot and flying off with this down pilot was awarded the Medal of Honor. And many felt like that there was some in ____ service, I would say jealousy involved there. So, like I say, I thank him myself that Colonel Fisher was certainly deserving of the Medal of Honor and I did support his action and I supported on the ground with _____

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Billy Hall.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Yes, I would say that there was two teams in there, there was our team A102, which was the team on the ground and MIKE Force Team which is a support team. That when they entered support battles, A503 and Billy Hall was A503 and they recommended him for the Medal of Honor, and I felt like he should have received it also.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Well, really for the battle there were three recommended, there was two on the ground, then in the air force recommended Colonel Fisher, and Colonel Fisher was awarded the Medal of Honor at that time period and myself and Sergeant Billy Hall was both downgraded to distinguished service crosses.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Yes they were three individuals that were recommended for the Medal of Honor. I, number one was recommended at that time, Major Fisher, Bernie Fisher from the air force and that was the first air force Medal of Honor that was approved in Vietnam. Then there was two special Forces soldiers there, one from each team and one from A102, myself that was recommended, and from A503 Staff Sergeant Billy Hall was recommended as ____ award and Sergeant Billy Hall was downgraded to a distinguished service cross as well as my award for the Medal of Honor was downgraded to the distinguished service cross at that time.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Absolutely, I need water.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

I’ll tell you what. That was kinda of difficult situation based upon the fact that number one, see I always like to say that the wife and daughter couldn’t talk about it, but they were right the other way they say that I’m the one that really hurt. What it amounted to was the gag order was not on their place, but the staff at the White House, but also by the Department of Army. The Department of Army then becomes super, super involved and with that they had a team to come in and first made contact with us, Mary and I in our home, and then they decided they decide that they would rang team in, they wanted to rang a team in to train. Said they gonna give me the same training that they do with the nearly appointed general officers and that’s how to handle the media. Well, I don’t know how to work with that, but so far I’m not sure whether I have handled it the way they desired or not, but I handled it you know the way I want to.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Oh yes, we have. We have had some media to talk to. It has been super interesting. It has been, I have had run into some really great people and something that I have not run into with the media is that all the media that I run into at this period of time has been super supportive and has been very, very positive with our military. So this is, it has been, you know it has been a real nice experience.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Okay.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Well, I tell you what. First of all, it was, I drove from the hotel. From to the hotel to the White House, we were transported in a bus and transporting myself and my guess in a bus with a motorcycle escort and what I understand that’s the way to move around the Washington D.C. area with the motorcycle escort and when we went through the group of security, the security was quality secured. We were treated real well and when into the White House itself we were told that the President would see us, see the immediate family and my immediate family and the President was super cordial. He invited us into this oval office itself. Into the oval office, he signed the initial authorization for the Medal of Honor and he was super cordial. Then went into the ceremony and the ceremony was right. He was very cordial and I’ll tell you what it was nothing but top quality hospitality from the President, the president’s staff, the White House’s staff, and it couldn’t have been a better situation. The only thing that I found that I was a little bit remiss in the White House, everyone told me that the food was great there, but it seemed like every time I would get a chance to eat some of the White House food someone wanted me to talk, but it was something that we had...

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Okay.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Yeah.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Let’s say, it’s super humbling experience to be caught in something like this, but when it did happen it likes the hospitality was absolutely great. The President, the President’s immediate staff, the White House’s staff, and it was something that my family and friends, I don’t think, will ever forget. I know I will not and thankfully I had somewhere between 80 and 90 family and friends to attend the ceremony. I think Marianne told me it is somewhere, I think it was 84 was the total that did attend and like I said it was super. Not only in the White House, but when we left the White House it was a great ceremony in the White House and then a fine hosted reception and went to party. Then the next day we were over in the Pentagon and the Secretary of Defense. Number one, it was a dual ceremony both in the White House and in the Pentagon. Myself and another young man that paid the ultimate price was awarded of ____ award and with the secretary of defense in the White House and with his staff it was absolutely a great ceremony. They had large number of photographs and so forth that was blown up to the point that had a fine display out in the lobby of the Pentagon and then in the Pentagon they not only awarded me the recommendation from this, but they awarded me by Medal of Honor flag at that time also and like I said it was a tremendous ceremony.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Uh.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

The Medal of Honor, I knew that the Medal of Honor was you know not only the highest award, but it was thought really high with the military, but I found that it is highly respected ____ with the civilians in our country as of today and it is such a humbling experience you have to. In a period of time from World War I, Korea, Vietnam, Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, somewhere I understand close to 30 million have served this country and I was told at the present time that I am number 78 living. So that’s such a humbling experience that it is something that I’m trying to and want this to be great, not only for myself or my family, but for the nation itself.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

I think probably the driving factor was that it was becoming automatic because of the quality of training that I have had with this and I received some of the best and most severe training I think of any unit or an individual could do in becoming Special Forces qualified and I feel like that this was the key not only...it is like a paratrooper. Jumping out of an airplane has become something for us that is just, just automatic. It is just step out, there is no problem, so I think that is the same way you can equate that with the actual battle and actual training, so I do not think there was ever any doubt in my mind that I was going to survive and I do not think there is any doubt in my mind that if I was killed that I would be killed in such a manner that it would be a quality death for our country.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Absolutely not. I was doing my job. That is what I was trained to do. That is what I was being paid to do and that was the job that I elected by choice.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Absolutely. That is correct.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

What I did is not heroic. What I did was...that was my job. That was what I was trained for. That was I was paid for as a professional soldier and I was trying to do the job in a professional way.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

I feel like that what I did at that period of time, number one is not heroic. What I was doing at that period of time was a job. It was a situation that I was caught in at that particular time and I feel like the fellow soldiers were doing the same thing. We were professionals. We were there because we wanted to be, that was our profession, that was our occupation, and we felt like that this was absolutely the correct thing to do. We have been asked to do this for our country and we felt like this was the correct thing to do, to add to the values that we held for the ideas of freedom and the freedoms that we have and just like we feel like that this is the freedom that we desire for all other people of the world.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

There is no doubt this is the major factor because if you really think about it, we were 18 and that is the way it works. We were team A102, and A102 would mean something to us and then the members of A102 to me now has a lasting place in my life. I was fortunate to serve in many teams, but the A102 that because of the battle and because of the actions of the team members that I have a stronger feeling for that team and than many of the others, yes.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

It would be super hard to explain to someone that has not experienced this. Now, someone that has experienced this may be able to better explain it to someone else, but the only thing that I can say with this is do not hope that no one else has to experience this. It is something that is traumatic and even to the point that yes it is a form of hell, but it is something that I would say may even be worst than this, so I do not think it can be explained. I think you would have to really have to live it to experience it, to sense it, to taste it, and to smell it, before you can really talk about it and then it is hard to ever explain the trauma of any heavy battle, so I cannot explain it. It is a traumatic experience that I hope no one else has to experience.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Oh, there is no doubt. Yes, it was some time before I could really, really talk about it completely, but I was really fortunate with this based upon the fact that I utilized three or four things to accomplish this and number 1 is my family, number 2 is work. I immediately owned upon retirement from the military again working and the majority of the time I was working not only in one occupation, but a lot of times in two occupations. I was in opening and developing business over the day and teaching at night, and this was not time to dwell along the past. The past was over and thankfully I survived it and we continued through family and through work, through support from the family and work elimination of the trauma that is sometimes involved with posttraumatic stress.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

This is correct. I did some teaching and some of the teaching was adult education and I did enjoy this at teaching some of the individuals to attempt to ____ better their way in life and I found that this was super rewarding, especially when you see it happen and see the individuals not only make a better life, but see them promoted in work that they were doing.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Oh, I think it is a necessity, especially in a person that has a family. I think, sure you have to commit and sacrifice somewhat to others, not only family, but with your peers in work and this type of commitment, I think it is something is a necessity and I think that if you see the people that have been successful in the world are this way, that they do sacrifice and commit for the betterment of mankind.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

I have seen with the other 16 other Special Forces soldiers. I would not say that this happened to me, but this was an example that I had seen from the others and they are people that are the heroes, not me.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

I feel, yes somewhat, but like I said it seems like the others were more so than I. They were the quality people. I was not. Just keep in mind now that I was just an average soldier in probably the most elite unit on the world at that timeframe.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Ah yes, I think possibly. I may be able to do this, the same thing that you are talking about. I do it in a real simpler, easy way, and what I try to tell the young folks is whatever you want to do be the best that you can be at it and whatever this entails for you to accomplish this do it and so I tried, I think I simplified this and maybe a little oversimplification, but this is the way I explain not only to the young people in the military, but young people in other aspects of life. Be the best that you can be.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Okay.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

Oh, I am about to break your equipment.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

Bennie G. Adkins:

____ throw your equipment back at you, right.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

 
Home » Text Transcript
  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
  Legal | External Link Disclaimer Need Help?   
Contact Us