The memory of TROY alumnus and Medal of Honor recipient Bennie Adkins is being honored by the Alabama State Board of Veterans Affairs.
On July 9, the board unanimously voted to name the state’s fifth veterans home in his honor.
“Troy University proudly celebrates this recognition of one of our heroes who has four degrees from this flag-waving institution,” said TROY Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr. “It’s a great day for veterans, for the inspirational legacy of CSM Bennie Adkins and for southeast Alabama. CSM Adkins was a true friend, a hero and an extraordinary Trojan. He was a national treasure and the bravest warrior I have ever known. We join the Adkins Family – and all Alabamians – in celebrating this signal achievement.”
The Troy University Board of Trustees had also passed a resolution endorsing the naming of the new facility in Adkins’ memory.
The Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie Adkins Veterans Home will be a 182,000 square-foot facility and house 175 residents when it is completed in Enterprise. It will be located on 108 acres on Highway 51 near the Yancy Parker Industrial Park and will employ about 200 people when operational.
“The Trojan Nation couldn’t be prouder after seeing one of our most heroic alumni recognized with this special honor to add to his many others,” said retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Walter Givhan, Senior Vice Chancellor for Advancement and Economic Development. “I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Command Sergeant Major Adkins several times, and he was the epitome of a noble gentleman, warrior, and leader who thought only of others. It was only right and fitting to honor him by naming the new state veterans home in Enterprise as a tribute to his heroism and his leadership in service to his country, his state, and his alma mater, Troy University.”
Adkins served more than 20 years in the Army, about 13 of which were as a Green Beret in 7th, 3rd, 6th and 5th Special Forces Groups. He served three tours in Vietnam. Adkins received the Medal of Honor for his actions during 38 hours of close-combat fighting against enemy forces on March 9-12, 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 overrun by enemy forces, Adkins displayed extraordinary courage and bravery as he rallied survivors and helped the wounded without regard to his own well-being. He sustained 18 different wounds as he helped his injured comrades to safety. His experiences were chronicled in the book, “A Tiger Among Us: A Story of Valor in Vietnam’s A Shau Valley,” which was written with author Katie Lamar Jackson and published in 2018.
Adkins died in 2020 from complications related to COVID-19. He was 86.
In 2017, TROY honored him with the Doctor of Laws honorary degree. He held an undergraduate degree and two master’s degrees from the University.