Bennie Adkins: a Soldier, a Hero, and a Tiger in the Jungles of Vietnam

Last updated August 14, 2023
Bennie Adkins, Tiger

Few have heard the story of Bennie Adkins, a U.S. soldier, being stalked by a predator known for its stealth and ferocity: a tiger.

This story is one of courage and tenacity, where U.S. troops were pitted against enemy soldiers and the wild forces of nature itself.

Bennie Adkins was a special forces warrior, a true testament to American bravery and ingenuity. While he was caught in the throes of the Vietnam War, an arena fraught with danger and uncertainty, his unwavering spirit earned him the Medal of Honor.

Bennie Adkins: Medal of Honor Hero

A Soldier's Valor

For an act of valor that transcends the call of duty, there is no higher honor than the Medal of Honor. Bennie Adkins, a Command Sergeant Major in the U.S. Army, earned this distinction for his extraordinary heroism during the Vietnam War.

In March 1966, Adkins distinguished himself in a fierce, multi-day battle at Camp A Shau, Vietnam. Outnumbered and under intense enemy fire, he courageously manned a mortar position. Even as enemy mortars landed close by, causing severe wounds, Adkins held his ground.

Beyond the Call of Duty

When he learned of injured comrades near the camp's center, he braved the deadly storm of enemy fire. Ignoring the exploding mortar rounds, he dragged several soldiers to safety. He even exposed himself to sniper fire to transport his wounded comrades to the camp dispensary.

During the battle, a resupply air drop landed outside the camp. Despite the danger, Adkins ventured beyond the camp walls to retrieve the much-needed supplies. This act alone displayed exceptional bravery and dedication to his comrades.

A Hero's Legacy

The battle lasted 38 hours, followed by 48 hours of escape and evasion. Despite sustaining 18 different wounds, Adkins eliminated an estimated 135 to 175 enemy soldiers. His courage, tenacity, and selflessness are a testament to the highest traditions of the U.S. military.

On September 15, 2014, in recognition of his extraordinary heroism, Bennie Adkins was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama at the White House. His story continues to inspire, reminding us of the unyielding courage and resilience of the American soldier​1​.

Wild Encounter in the Jungle

Adkins and his comrades found themselves outnumbered. They fought valiantly, but the camp was eventually overrun. With no other option, the remaining troops were forced to retreat into the dense jungle, with Bennie leading the way.

It was in this hostile environment that the unexpected happened. Amid the rustling leaves and shadowy figures, Adkins became aware of a silent stalker. A tiger, the king of the Southeast Asian jungle, had caught their scent.

Of course, it's not every day that a soldier has to grapple with such a formidable non-human enemy. Fortunately, this one helped the U.S. soldiers in their fight against the North Vietnamese:

"It was a tiger that stalked us that night. We were all bloody and in this jungle, the tiger stalked us and the North Vietnamese soldiers were more afraid of the tiger than they were of us. So, they backed off some and we were gone. The tiger was on our side."

Bennie Adkins

Fortunately, after 48 hours in the jungle, the American troops managed to evade both human and animal hunters, thanks to Bennie Adkins leadership.

Conclusion

The story of Bennie Adkins and his encounter with a tiger in the Vietnam jungle is emblematic of the grit and determination that underpin the American spirit.

Furthermore, this epic saga shows how U.S. soldiers are not just warriors, but survivors - capable of adapting to the most extraordinary situations and coming out on top.

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22 comments on “Bennie Adkins: a Soldier, a Hero, and a Tiger in the Jungles of Vietnam”

  1. Thank GOD you all were saved.
    GOD BLESS YOU and thank you for your service.
    I had a cousin and many friends serve in Vietnam. My dad and uncles in WW2 and a cousin in Korean war. You all are my heroes.

  2. My father was in Vietnam, but doesn't talk about it. Afterwards he was really messed up, on drugs and drank too much. But with the help of SA he got clean and sober. It was a horrible war and we never should have been there. Too often we try to solve the worlds problems, but end up causing problems for our own that never can be repaid. We should be thinking about these things before we enter someone else's war...

    1. that insane war was a Money war for the DemonRat party, LBJ wanted ti so bad he and his fellow crooks made a Fortune off of it. he lied about the Bay of Tonkin skirmish, there was none. he lied about the US being fired upon just so the US Citizens would agree to go to war in VN, the USA had NOTHING to gain by going to war there. the DemonRats should ALL be put in prison over that war that cost 50,000 + American lives.

      1. Johnson waned his legacy to be that of a great war president.
        The Tonkin attack was to help him to get elected in 1964
        The Liberty was to get him reelected 1968. Both incidents cost so many lives. His ego was evil.

        1. "landslide lyndon" was also a corrupt pig who delivered texas for kennedy in 1960 and made ladybird a multimillionaire with radio permits.

          1. There are several books about the LIBERTY. "Remember the Liberty" explains the timeline of the attack. How Isarel was strong armed and there were Israeli soldiers who did not fire at us.
            How the crew did not receive their medals at the White House. The captains CMH was presented to him by an aid at a base close to the White House.

    1. agree, my Father told me that the democrats start them fill their pockets and the republicans have to stop them when they win the high chair. look at what is happening now, Biden bomb syria and this alone will start a war.

  3. I preface by saying that I love this nation.
    I admit that I joined the reserves to evade
    service in Vietnam. Having said that, once the military has you on active, or reserves it is able to do with your body and mind what it wishes.
    Having an addictive personality, I am not certain how I would have performed in combat. I am familiar with 12 steps.
    It is the life after combat that can be so challenging to those with addictive personalities.
    My family supports bona-fide veterans groups who help our service personnel either on active, reserve or national guard, or retired.
    G-D bless America, and those on this site.

    1. I came close to joining near the end of it in 74-75, then I cam to my senses, those people Never did anything to the USA or me why would want to go over there and kill people that never did anything to me.

  4. Great story indeed. Where would we be without out great warriors. Thank you 🙏 for your service love and devotion to this great country ant to each other and all of us. Your bravery and fortitude saved many. It kept us free. Land of the free home of the brave. We owe you our lives. God was with you every step of your arduous journey.' Thank you from the bottom of my Heart.❤️❤️🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🙏🙏👍👩

    1. More of this should be publisized so all Americans know and appreciate what sacrifices our soldiers make for our freedom.

  5. My husband turned 18 over there. He ended up serving 3 tours from 67, 68, and 69. He served in Special OPs. Came home got spit on, many to none of the Vets received respect or warm welcomes. Like so many who came home with numerous problems, both physical and mental. Thank you for your service and welcome home.

    1. THE TOP VIETNAMESE HONCHO SAID IF WE HAD BOMBED HANOI ONE MORE DAY THEY WOULD HAVE GIVEN AND THE WAR WOULD HAVE OVER, BUT OUR GOVERNMENT WAS A FRAID TO HURT THEIR FEELINGS SO THEY STOPPED BOMBING HANOI, ALSO THE TRAITORS AND EMENSTRATORS GAVE HEART TO OUR ENEMIES, SO WE LOST ALL THOSE BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN, ALSO THAT COUNTRYS PEOPLES FREDOM. SAD GOVERNMENT SEND US OUT AND WHOSE SIDE IS IT ON S/SGT USAF .

      1. General Giap was puzzled why the US Army did not push to Hanoi after the 68 Tet offense.
        LBJ micromanaged a lot of defeat for the US military

  6. I remember hearing the name "A Shau" mentioned numerous times throughout the War. I finally realized how senseless the Vietnam War had become as a result -- that same valley being won and lost repeatedly for several years!

    1. Not all reports were so good.. my brother and his men and all of the villagers they were told to protect were hit with Agent Orange by this country and killing some right then, some later, then my brother later. When that evil bio weapon fell on them they had not been told that day that they would Die. Then I read that this illegal president was talking Bio weapon again. My brother died a horrible death. He suffered, while his family watched him slowly Die. I FOR ONE would not allow that to happen again. I am not the only one who lost family in that horrible bio weapon war against our own SOLDIERS. For All of our sakes people of that terrible conflick: Don't let it happen again. We, Are Lt Col Gary Lee Carder's family we still GRIEVE for our beloved son. God help us all !

  7. And why did it take nearly FIFTY years for Sgt.Major to receive the MOH??? From øvømit, no less.
    GOD BLESS THE USA

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