On Monday, December 12, 2020 American Airlines operated a special flight (Flt 1966) carrying the late Medal of Honor recipient CSM Bennie G. Adkins and his family from Atlanta to Washington, D.C. before being buried at Arlington.
American Airlines numbered the flight “1966” for the year in which he acted heroically in Vietnam to receive the U.S.‘s highest military decoration.
Full honors were bestowed for CSM Adkins and his family as the Soldiers from the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Ft. Campbell, KY performed the transfer and the Patriot Guard Riders from Atlanta and Washington lined the runway with American flags.
Adkins received the Medal of Honor in 2014 from President Barack Obama for his service during the Vietnam War at the Battle of A Shau in 1966, during which he rescued fellow soldiers and killed between 135 and 175 North Vietnamese and Viet Cong soldiers while sustaining eighteen wounds to his body over the course of a 38-hour battle and 48 hours of escape, according to Adkins’ Medal of honor citation.
“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,” the citation reads. “Upon learning that several soldiers were wounded near the center of camp, he temporarily turned the mortar over to another soldier, ran through exploding mortar rounds and dragged several comrades to safety.”
You can read his full citation here
In April, he lost a battle to COVID 19 at the age of 86. He will be buried with full military honors on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 and will be laid to rest with the remains of his wife, Mary Adkins, who died Feb. 12, 2019, and is already laid to rest in Arlington.
This was a great honor to document for me as I have had the pleasure of having CSM Adkins in front of my camera for one of my favorite Medal of Honor portraits ever.
God bless and thanks for being a true American Hero!
R.I.P. CSM Bennie G. Adkins, February 1, 1934 – April 17, 2020.