A resolution sponsored by State Sen. Neil Anderson (Rock Island) honoring the service of Captain William Albracht in the Vietnam War passed the Illinois Senate on April 16.
“Today, we honor Captain Albracht's selfless and heroic actions at Firebase Kate that saved the lives of nearly 150 American and Allied Soldiers,” said Anderson, speaking on the Senate floor.
Senate Resolution 198 calls on Congress, the Department of the Army, and the Department of Defense to review Captain Albracht's heroic actions at Firebase Kate and, if warranted, upgrade the Silver Star Medal bestowed on him for those actions to the Medal of Honor.
In October 1969, Captain Albracht, the youngest Special Forces Captain in Vietnam, took command of Firebase Kate. The morning after his arrival at the hilltop outpost, 6,000 North Vietnamese soldiers crossed the Cambodian border and began a siege on the base that lasted for five days.
“On numerous occasions, Captain Albracht selflessly broke from cover, making himself vulnerable to enemy fire. Although he received a painful shrapnel wound from a B-40 rocket, Captain Albracht refused immediate medical attention or evacuation,” noted Anderson.
After five days – with the base running out of ammunition, food and water – Albracht made the decision to lead his troops off Firebase Kate on a daring night escape through the jungle and across enemy lines to safety on the other side. Albracht’s actions saved nearly 150 American and Allied Soldiers. It was the only time during the Vietnam War that an entire unit that had been surrounded by the North Vietnamese survived intact.
“Today, we ask the United States Congress, the Department of the Army, and the Department of Defense to consider a man who is a native son of Illinois and a true American hero, for the Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest military award,” said Anderson.