Bennie R. Adkins
U. S. Army
Dates of Service: 12/22/1968 - 12/10/1970
Infantryman, 1st Cavalry

Bennie R. Adkins was born in 1950 in Minden, Louisiana to Spencer and Mary Lee Adkins. His father was a section gang foreman for KCS and his mother was a domestic and a cook in a cafe. Bennie's great grandmother was Jane Ball, a freed slave from South Carolina. His mother married at the age of 13 after the death of both parents. From this marriage, Bennie had three older half-siblings, two sisters and one brother. Bennie also had one younger brother. In 1965, the Freedom Riders and James Farmer held a freedom march in Minden in which Bennie participated. Bennie was the only child in his family to graduate from high school and join the military. In 1968, at the age of 17, he went to Grambling University on a football scholarship but decided joining the army would give him a better life. Bennie entered the Army in 1968 and went to Fort Polk, Louisiana for basic training. He was deployed to Vietnam in May of 1969 and assigned to the 1st Cavalry where flew on more than 25 flights in search and destroy missions during the six months that he was deployed. On Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 1969, Bennie was wounded, sent to a medevac hospital for two weeks, then sent to Camp Zama, Japan, for surgery before being transported back to the states for convalescence. He was sent to the VA Hospital in Shreveport where he was given a disability discharge in 1970. He married Linda Thornton, attended the Northwest Louisiana Vo-Tech in welding and worked for the city of Minden as a welder.