Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company A, 127th
Infantry, 32d Infantry Division.
Place and date: Villa Verde Trail, Luzon,
Philippine Islands, 10 March 1945.
Entered service at: Campobello, S.C.
Birth: Campobello, S.C.
G.O. No.: 95, 30 October 1945.
Citation: He fought
gallantly on the Villa Verde Trail, Luzon, Philippine Islands. With 2 companions
he occupied a position on a ridge outside the perimeter defense established
by the 1st Platoon on a high hill. At about 3 a.m., 2 companies of Japanese
attacked with rifle and machinegun fire, grenades, TNT charges, and land
mines, severely wounding Pfc. Atkins and killing his 2 companions. Despite
the intense hostile fire and pain from his deep wound, he held his ground
and returned heavy fire. After the attack was repulsed, he remained in
his precarious position to repel any subsequent assaults instead of returning
to the American lines for medical treatment. An enemy machinegun, set up
within 20 yards of his foxhole, vainly attempted to drive him off or silence
his gun. The Japanese repeatedly made fierce attacks, but for 4 hours,
Pfc. Atkins determinedly remained in his fox hole, bearing the brunt of
each assault and maintaining steady and accurate fire until each charge
was repulsed. At 7 a.m., 13 enemy dead lay in front of his position; he
had fired 400 rounds, all he and his 2 dead companions possessed, and had
used 3 rifles until each had jammed too badly for further operation. He
withdrew during a lull to secure a rifle and more ammunition, and was persuaded
to remain for medical treatment. While waiting, he saw a Japanese within
the perimeter and, seizing a nearby rifle, killed him. A few minutes later,
while lying on a litter, he discovered an enemy group moving up behind
the platoon's lines. Despite his severe wound, he sat up, delivered heavy
rifle fire against the group and forced them to withdraw. Pfc. Atkins'
superb bravery and his fearless determination to hold his post against
the main force of repeated enemy attacks, even though painfully wounded,
were major factors in enabling his comrades to maintain their lines against
a numerically superior enemy force.
This data was extracted from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, U.S. Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients: 1863-1973 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1973)