HARPER, KS, US
SSG, CO A, 173RD BDE SUPPORT BN, 173RD AIRBORNE BCT, BAMBERG, GERMANY
08/31/2010, FOB SHANK (C-MED), LOGAR PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN
An Oklahoma soldier who died while serving in Afghanistan was buried Sept. 13 after a funeral service in Duncan. The Duncan Banner reported that the private service for Staff Sergeant Vinson B. Adkinson III, 26, at Ray of Hope Church south of Duncan was only open to family and friends. Adkinson’s father, Vinson Adkinson Jr., and the soldier’s sister, Mary Kay, each rang a traveling replica of the Liberty Bell in the soldier’s honor.
Adkinson, an Army Ranger with the Bamburg, Germany-based 173rd Brigade Support Battalion, and three other soldiers died when an improvised explosive device blew up near their unit Aug. 31. The Army said he enlisted in 2003 and was assigned as a heavy vehicle operator.
He grew up in the tiny community of Empire City, Stephens County, but moved to Kansas, where he graduated from high school. He was buried at Fort Sill National Cemetery.
Adkinson had served three tours of duty in Iraq and was in his second tour of duty in Afghanistan. On Sept. 11, his father said Adkinson was born to be in the military. Adkinson’s grandmother, Mary Adkinson, said she didn’t want him to serve another tour of duty in Afghanistan. She said he told her he needed to return to Afghanistan so that the people of that nation could have peace in their lives.
After the funeral, a military escort brought Adkinson’s flag-draped casket out of the church and placed it in a white hearse. As the hearse’s rear door closed, red, white and blue balloons were released.
Adkinson, who was also known by “Trinity” because he was the third Vinson in his family, was the “guy everyone loved,” according to his younger brother Jacob. Many of his friends knew him by his nickname “T-Bird” while he was in school at Empire. He immediately entered into the military, according to his close friend Chase Hutto.
“He went straight in,” Hutto said. “He was dedicated to it, but he would always look me up when he was back in the area.”
Vinson was a Staff Sergeant E6 Army Ranger, and part of the 173rd Airborne Division, based out of Hamburg, Germany. He served five tours, three in Iraq and was serving his second tour in Afghanistan, and was going on his eighth year overseas. But Jacob said Vinson’s time spent in the military was just where he wanted to be.
“He was every bit of a soldier,” Jacob said. “It sounds like that thing you always hear, but he lived his life to serve his country. He loved every bit of it.”
Jacob said that his brother was very proud of everything he got to do with the military and was very thankful for the experiences he had while in the Army.
“He got to see and do things that he never thought he would do and he appreciated it,” Jacob said. “He loved his friends and his battle buddies. The Army was his family, his home.”
Jacob said he talked to his brother almost daily and when he was stateside, he would look up Jacob to spend time with him. He said “He was my best friend and I knew him inside and out,” Jacob said. “And he’s really the main reason I joined the military.”