Vietnam War Hero to Sign Book at RIAC June Firearms Auction
Rock Island Auction Company is please to announce that Vietnam War hero Capt. William “Hawk” Albracht will be signing copies of his new book on Thursday June 25, 2015 from 11:00 – 4:00. The signing will take place from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and will be one of many that Albracht has performed across the country for “Abandoned in Hell: The Fight for Vietnam’s Firebase Kate.”
In October 1969, Captain William Albracht, the youngest Green Beret captain in Vietnam, took command of a remote hilltop outpost called Fire Base Kate, held by only 27 American soldiers and 150 Montagnard militiamen. He found their defenses woefully unprepared. At dawn the next morning, three North Vietnamese Army regiments, some 6,000 men–crossed the Cambodian border and attacked.
Outnumbered three dozen to one, Albracht’s men held off repeated ground assaults by communist forces with fierce hand-to-hand fighting, air support and a dangerously close B-52 strike. For days, the NVA blanketed Kate in a rain of rockets, mortars, artillery, machine guns, and small arms, blocking efforts to resupply, reinforce, or evacuate the outpost. Albracht continually exposed himself to enemy fire to direct air strikes, to guide re-supply helicopters, to distribute ammunition and water to his men, to retrieve the dead and to rescue the wounded, often shielding men with his own body. Wounded by rocket shrapnel, he refused medical attention or evacuation. Exhausted from days without sleep, he continued to rally his men to beat off each new enemy attack.
After five days, Kate’s defenders were out of ammo and water. Aerial resupply was suicidal, and reinforcements were denied by military commanders who had written off Kate. Albracht refused to surrender or die in place. Instead, he led his troops, including many wounded, off the hill and on a daring night march through enemy lines.
Abandoned in Hell is an astonishing memoir of leadership, sacrifice, and brutal violence, a riveting journey into Vietnam’s heart of darkness, and a compelling reminder of the transformational power of individual heroism. Not since Lone Survivor and We Were Soldiers Once, And Young has there been such a gripping and authentic account of battlefield courage.
William “Bill” Albracht was born and raised in Rock Island, IL. After graduating from Alleman Catholic High School in 1966, he joined the US Army. Bill attended Infantry Officer Candidate School and was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1967 at the age of nineteen. He spent his commissioned career in the US Army Special Forces, commonly referred to as the “Green Berets.” At age twenty-one, he was the youngest captain to command combat troops during the Vietnam War. As the recipient of three Silver Stars for gallantry in action, three Purple Hearts, five Bronze Stars, as well as other awards for combat valor, Bill is one of the most highly decorated veterans in the state of Illinois.
Upon his discharge from the military, he worked his way through college, graduating from Augustana College in Rock Island. After graduation, he became a Special Agent in the US Secret Service. Bill’s career spanned over twenty-five years and during that time he protected six presidents, their families, as well as visiting foreign heads of state. He also safeguarded the Nation’s monetary system as well as conducted investigations pertaining to Department of Treasury criminal violations.
In 1989, Bill returned to the Quad City area with his three children, whom he raised as a single parent while working as a Resident Agent for the Secret Service. After retiring from the Secret Service as the Assistant Special-Agent-In-Charge of the Washington DC Office, Bill went to the Ford Motor Company as the manager of Ford’s Executive Security Operations. Once again feeling the pull of home, he moved back to the Quad Cities in 2005. In 2012, Bill was the IL GOP Senate candidate for the 36th District. Albeit an unsuccessful bid for the District seat, he brought attention to the many fiscal and integrity issues that have plagued the state.
Bill has written a book, Abandoned In Hell, which tells the story of how in the fall of 1969, his ban of 150 soldiers held out against 6,000 enemy for five days on Firebase Kate. Cut off from support and reinforcements, and with all means of resistance exhausted, Bill led his men in the dark of night through the jungles in a desperate attempt to escape and evade the enemy as they overran the base. Abandoned In Hell has been purchased by Penguin Press and will be published and released in February of 2015.
Bill currently lives in Moline, IL and works as an independent security consultant. He is married to the lovely and talented Mary Moran of Coal Valley. Together they have five children and seven grandchildren.