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 March 27, 2015

News General Dynamics withdraws as T-100 prime contractor General Dynamics Information Systems and Technology has withdrawn itself as the prime contractor on the T-100, the offering for the T-X trainer replacement program based on the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 design.   Business SpaceX’s fight with U.S. Air Force called a clash of perceptions Billionaire Elon Musk’s...
 
 

News Briefs March 27, 2015

Contractor extradited from Iraq pleads guilty in bribes case A man extradited from Iraq in a military contract bribery case has pleaded guilty to three charges in an agreement with federal prosecutors. U.S. District Judge Thomas Rose has scheduled sentencing for July 1 for Metin Atilan. His attorney, Nick Gounaris, says the two sides agreed...
 
 

Ninth Boeing GPS IIF reaches orbit, sends first signals

Boeing Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF satellites are steadily replenishing the orbiting constellation, continuing to improve reliability and accuracy for users around the world. The ninth GPS IIF reached orbit about three hours, 20 minutes after launching today aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., and...
 

 

F-35 Lightning II costs drop, report shows

A recent account of F-35 Lightning II aircraft program costs shows decreases, the Air Force’s F-35 program executive officer told reporters in a media roundtable March 24, 2015. Lt. Gen. Christopher C. Bogdan, citing this year’s selected acquisition report on the aircraft, called the roundtable to clarify cost and performance facts. He also acknowledged the...
 
 
NG-growler2

Northrop Grumman delivers center/aft ‘shipset’ for first international EA-18G Growler

Northrop Grumman photograph Northrop Grumman mechanics perform final quality inspections on the center/aft fuselage shipset produced by the company for the first Australian EA-18G Growler. The subassembly will be delivered to B...
 
 
Navy photograph by Monica McCoy

Navy conducts production acceptance test of Tomahawk missile

Navy photograph by Monica McCoy Members of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division team at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head prepare a Tomahawk missile for a functional ground test at the Large Motor Test Fa...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>