Troy University alumnus Bennie Adkins, whose heroism during the Vietnam War earned him a belated Medal of Honor in 2014, is sharing his story in his own words with a new book out now.
In “A Tiger Among Us,” written with author Katie Lamar Jackson, Adkins shares the harrowing account of the vicious four-day battle in Vietnam’s A Shau Valley during which he overcame wounds and impossible odds to help get other survivors to safety.
Adkins and Lamar discussed the book with Troy Public Radio during a live event in May. Adkins said his goal for the book was that his story be told honestly.
“The only requirement I had for the book was it would be accurate and truthful,” Adkins said. “I am really pleased with the end results of the book.”
Jackson said she and Adkins spent hours together in interviews working on the book, going over the details of his experiences in Vietnam.
“He and (wife) Mary were very gracious to let me just show up at their house for several months,” Jackson said. “I would go over there and we would just sit and talk and I would ask him the same questions many times, and he would sometimes add a little more … all of the time we were able to spend in the interview process was invaluable.”
Adkins, a U.S. Army veteran, served three tours in Vietnam. He was recognized for his actions during 38 hours of close-combat fighting against enemy forces on March 9 to 12, 1966. At that time, then-Sgt. 1st Class Adkins was serving as an intelligence sergeant with Detachment A-102, 5th Special Forces Group, 1st Special Forces at Camp “A Shau,” in the Republic of Vietnam.
When the camp was overcome by enemy forces, Adkins displayed extraordinary courage and bravery as he rallied survivors and helped the wounded.
“Those of us that were living and able to move made up our minds that we would not become prisoners of war,” Adkins said. “We would continue fighting until we were killed or wounded and could not go on.”
Adkins’ heroic actions were honored on Sept. 15, 2014, when President Obama presented him with the Medal of Honor.
In 2017, Adkins created the Bennie Adkins Foundation, which provides scholarships to Special Forces transitioning to civilian life.
Adkins holds three degrees from TROY. He earned his bachelor’s degree from then-Troy State University Montgomery in 1979. He earned his Master’s Degree in Education in 1982, and then, a second Master’s Degree in Management in 1988, all from TSUM.