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Medal of Honor recipient Bennie Adkins dies of coronavirus at 86

President Barack Obama bestows the Medal of Honor to retired Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. Adkins (U.S. Army/Released)

Bennie Adkins, the Alabama resident who was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2014 for his actions in Vietnam, died Friday afternoon after being hospitalized with the coronavirus, his foundation said. He was 86.

“We are deeply saddened to notify you that after a courageous battle with COVID-19, Command Sergeant Major Bennie G. Adkins departed this life today, with beloved family at his bedside,” the Bennie Adkins Foundation, which the veteran and Opelika resident established to award scholarships to Special Forces soldiers, said on its Facebook page.

Adkins had been hospitalized in critical condition at East Alabama Medical Center after being diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, in late March.

President Barack Obama awarded Adkins the Medal of Honor in 2014, almost 50 years after his heroic actions in the jungles of Vietnam. He received the nation’s highest military honor for valor during 48 hours of close-combat fighting against enemy forces near Camp A Shau, Vietman on March 9-12, 1966. The Medal of Honor proclamation recognized Adkins for “fighting with mortars, machine guns, recoilless rifles, small arms, and hand grenades” killing between 135 and 175 enemy soldiers while sustaining 18 different wounds.

After his stint as a Green Beret, Adkins established the Bennie Adkins foundation, which awards education scholarships to Special Forces soldiers.

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Adkins leaves behind a wife, Mary Adkins, and daughter Mary Ann Adkins Blake (David), sons Michael Adkins (Christine), and W. Keith Adkins (Jaime), as well as numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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