Veterans

September 2, 2014

Two Vietnam War Soldiers, one from Civil War to receive Medal of Honor

Tags:
David Vergun
Army News

Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. Adkins and former Spc. 4 Donald P. Sloat will receive the Medal of Honor for actions in Vietnam.

The White House announced Aug. 26 that Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. Adkins and Spec. 4 Donald P. Sloat will receive the Medal of Honor for actions in Vietnam.

It was also announced 1st Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing will posthumously receive the Medal of Honor for actions in the Civil War during the Battle of Gettysburg.

President Barack Obama will award the medal to Adkins during a White House ceremony, Sept. 15. At the same ceremony, Dr. William Sloat of Enid, Oklahoma, will accept the medal on behalf of his brother Donald, who died in battle. Details on Cushing’s award will be announced separately, according to the White House statement.

 

Lt. Col. Ken Facey presents the Purple Heart to then-Sgt. 1st Class Bennie G. Adkins, in 1966, in Vietnam.

Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie Adkins 

Then-SFC Adkins was serving with Detachment A-102, 5th Special Forces Group, 1st Special Forces at Camp A Shau, Vietnam. In the early morning hours of March 9, 1966, the camp was attacked by “a large North Vietnamese and Viet Cong force,” according documentation.

Adkins, who manned a mortar, “received several direct hits from enemy mortars” and was wounded. Despite his wounds, he ran through exploding enemy fire to drag other wounded comrades to safety.

Then, as the fighting intensified, members of the South Vietnamese Civil Irregular Defense Group defected to the enemy, according to documentation of the battle.

Fighting continued all day and during the early morning hours of March 10, enemy forces launched their main attack. Adkins purposely drew enemy fire to his position so that Air Force pilots could attempt to evacuate the other Soldiers.

By 6:30 a.m., Adkins was the only man left firing a mortar, the document continues. When the last mortar round was fired, Adkins poured “effective recoilless rifle fire upon enemy positions.” Despite additional wounds, Adkins “fought off waves of attacking Viet Cong, eliminating numerous insurgents.”

After being ordered to evacuate the camp, Adkins and a small group of Soldiers fought their way out to the extraction point, carrying their wounded. Upon reaching the landing zone, they found out that the last rescue helicopter had departed, so the group evaded the enemy until March 12, when they were finally rescued by helicopter.

During the 38-hour battle and 48 hours of escape and evasion, it is estimated that Adkins killed as many as 175 of the enemy, while sustaining 18 wounds to his own body.

When asked how he could continue to help others evade the enemy with so many wounds, Adkins said “you just don’t quit. You don’t know what the word quit means.”

He said, however, that the medal doesn’t really belong to him. “I’m just a keeper of the medal for those other 16 people who were in the battle, especially the five who didn’t make it.”

 

Basic training photo of then-Pvt. Donald P. Sloat, at Fort Polk, La.

Spec. 4 Donald P. Sloat 

Spec. 4 Donald P. Sloat distinguished himself while serving as a machine gunner with 3rd Platoon, Company D, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 196th Light Infantry Brigade, Americal Division, during combat operations near Danang, South Vietnam.

On the morning of Jan. 17, 1970, Sloat’s squad was on patrol, moving up a small hill in file formation, according to documentation of the battle.

“The lead soldier tripped a wire attached to a hand grenade booby-trap, set up by enemy forces,” according to the document. As the grenade rolled down the hill, Sloat knelt and picked it up.

“After initially attempting to throw the grenade, Sloat realized that detonation was imminent” so he drew the grenade to his body and shielded his squad members from the blast, saving their lives, but sacrificing his own, the document concludes.

 

1st Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing will receive the Medal of Honor for actions during the Civil War, at the Battle of Gettysburg, Penn.

1st Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing

Cushing distinguished himself during combat operations in the vicinity of Cemetery Ridge, July 3, 1863, while serving as a commanding officer of Battery A, 4th United States Artillery, Artillery Brigade, 2nd Corps, Army of the Potomac.

He was grievously wounded defending the Union’s position during Longstreet’s Assault, known as Pickett’s Charge. He refused to evacuate, the White House said.

As the Confederates advanced, Cushing, who was 22 years old, manned the only remaining and serviceable field piece in his battery, the statement said.

“With the rebels within 100 yards of his position, Cushing was shot and killed during this heroic stand,” the White House said. “His actions made it possible for the Union Army to successfully repulse the Confederate assault.”

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines July 27, 2015

News: U.S.-Turkey deal aims to create de facto ‘safe zone’ in northwest Syria – Turkey and the United States have agreed on the outlines of a de facto “safe zone” along the Turkey-Syria border under the terms of a deal that is expected to significantly increase the scope and pace of the U.S.-led air war against...
 
 

News Briefs July 27, 2015

Putin OKs maritime code calling for strong Atlantic presence Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved a new version of the country’s maritime doctrine that calls for maintaining a strong Russian presence in the Atlantic Ocean amid concerns about NATO expansion. The doctrine, which covers naval, merchant marine and scientific maritime issues, also adds the Antarctic...
 
 
Army photograph by SFC Walter E. van Ochten

U.S., Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria train together at Rapid Trident 2015

Army photograph by SFC Walter E. van Ochten U.S. soldiers, of the 3rd Platoon, 615th Military Police Company, 709th Military Police Battalion, react as they conduct reacting to contact training as part of their situational trai...
 

 
nasa-astronaut

Astronaut Stephen Frick retires from NASA

Astronaut Stephen Frick has retired from NASA to accept a position in the private sector. Frick, who flew as both a shuttle pilot and commander, left the Agency July 13. Steve has been a great asset to the astronaut office and ...
 
 
Army photograph by Sgt. Juana M. Nesbitt

Estonian, US forces receive new jump wings

Army photograph by Sgt. Juana M. Nesbitt Pvt. Kalmer Simohov, of Parnu, a volunteer with the Estonian Defense League, receives his U.S. Army Airborne wings following the joint airborne operations exercise at a drop zone in Nurm...
 
 

Lockheed Martin, StemRad studying first-responder radiation shield for potential deep-space application

StemRad, Ltd. and Lockheed Martin have initiated a joint research and development effort to determine if StemRad’s radiation shielding technology ñ originally designed for first-responders ñ could help to keep astronauts safe on deep-space exploration missions. This collaboration is part of Lockheed Martin’s ongoing effort to establish international partnerships for human explorat...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>