Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Korean War Hero Back Home ; Remains of Virgil Boyd Adkins to Be Buried Today in Hinton

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Korean War Hero Back Home ; Remains of Virgil Boyd Adkins to Be Buried Today in Hinton

Article excerpt

The Korean War was grinding to a halt, and Pvt. Virgil Boyd Adkins, of Hinton, had been in-country for a little more than a month when he and other members of his U.S. Army infantry company were ordered on July 17, 1953, to scout out reports of enemy activity. They were just north of the Demilitarized Zone - a line across the Korean Peninsula separating North and South Korea that would soon become a permanent border between the two countries. His actions that day, protecting his fellow soldiers, led to his death and a posthumous Silver Star. Today, more than six decades later, Adkins' remains have been identified and will be buried in Hinton.

Adkins' unit - Company B of the 1st Battalion, 65th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division - had come under attack in June 1953, when the DMZ outpost they were manning was shelled by artillery and mortars, and then assaulted by a similar-sized force of enemy troops.

According to a regimental history, the men of Company B lobbed hand grenades at, and exchanged small-arms fire with, enemy soldiers, who nonetheless managed to enter the American entrenchments. That led to 45 minutes of hand-to-hand combat before the Americans repelled the attack, killing 30 enemy troops, with one American killed and 14 wounded.

A month later, on July 17 - 10 days before an armistice agreement ended the war - Adkins was part of a patrol scouting out enemy activity in an area to the north of the DMZ that would soon become a part of North Korea. Adkins' company came under attack, forcing a withdrawal back to friendly lines.

Adkins volunteered to stay behind to provide cover for the retreat, and was killed during the rear-guard action. He was 21 years old. It would be another year before the Army declared him killed in action, rather than missing in action.

For the courage and determination shown in laying down fire and sacrificing his life, allowing his comrades to return to safety, Adkins was posthumously awarded the Silver Star. …

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