Retired Army Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie Adkins, a Special Operations legend and recipient of the Medal of Honor for his “above and beyond” valor in Vietnam, has been listed in critical condition with coronavirus, his foundation announced Thursday.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has hit home. Bennie has been hospitalized and is critically ill with COVID-19 respiratory failure. We ask for your thoughts and prayers,” the Bennie Adkins Foundation, which provides scholarships to troops, said in a Facebook post.
The tightly knit community of 70 living MOH recipients immediately rallied in support of the 86-year-old Adkins, who received the medal from President Barack Obama in 2014 for his actions 48 years earlier in brutal combat in Vietnam’s forbidding A Shau valley.
“I’d ask everyone to send a prayer for him and his family,” said former Army Staff Sgt. Ron Shurer, who received the Medal of Honor from President Donald Trump in 2018 for his life-saving actions in 2008 as a medic in Afghanistan’s Shok valley.
“He’s one hell of a warrior and will face this foe fiercely like he has all in his past,” Shurer, who is himself battling cancer, said on Instagram.
Adkins’ son, Keith, told the Opelika-Auburn News in Alabama that his father was recently admitted to the East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika, Adkins’ hometown.
“We’re very appreciative of the prayers and support from people, frankly, from around the country. We’re hopeful for the best, but realistic as well,” Keith Adkins said. “We’re very grateful for the doctors and staff and everyone at EAMC for the job they’re doing.”
Adkins is believed to be the first MOH recipient to be diagnosed with the virus that has spread worldwide, with the most confirmed cases being reported in the U.S.
This story will be updated.
— Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.
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