Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SR0198
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Full Text of SR0198  99th General Assembly




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2    WHEREAS, From October 28 through November 2, 1969, Captain
3William L. Albracht distinguished himself while serving as
4commander of Firebase Kate, a small, isolated United States
5Army artillery base secured by a company of Civilian Irregular
6Defense Group (CIDG) troops; and
7    WHEREAS, On October 28, 1969, Firebase Kate was attacked by
8approximately 6,000 North Vietnamese troops in 2 infantry
9regiments and a reinforced artillery regiment which soon
10knocked out its 3 howitzers; on the morning of October 29,
11while leading a reconnaissance patrol near the base, an enemy
12ambush wounded the point man; and
13    WHEREAS, Disregarding his own safety, Captain Albracht ran
14through withering fire from a machine gun concealed less than
1550 meters away to find the unconscious trooper and carry him to
16safety; and
17    WHEREAS, A few hours later, after returning to the
18firebase, Captain Albracht took up an exposed position to guide
19a Medevac helicopter to a safe landing; as the aircraft
20approached, he observed the launch of an enemy B-40 rocket from
21a nearby hill and realized that the pilot could not see this
22missile; and



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1    WHEREAS, With complete disregard for his own safety,
2Captain Albracht stood his ground while frantically waving off
3the helicopter; the pilot veered away to safety just before the
4rocket impacted, wounding Captain Albracht with shrapnel; and
5    WHEREAS, Although in great pain from this wound, Captain
6Albracht refused medical evacuation and continued to direct the
7actions of Firebase Kate's defenders; and
8    WHEREAS, Later that same day, and on numerous occasions on
9October 30, October 31, and November 1, with complete disregard
10for his own safety, Captain Albracht took up exposed positions
11from which he could fire tracer rounds at enemy machine guns
12and crew-served weapons, thereby identifying targets for a
13United States Air Force Forward Air Controller overhead;
14ignoring the storm of small arms and recoilless rifle fire
15directed at him each time, he remained in position until his
16marked target was destroyed by United States Air Force attack
17aircraft; and
18    WHEREAS, Captain Albracht's actions on these numerous
19occasions allowed the safe landing of resupply and Medevac
20helicopters without which the firebase would have been overrun;



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1    WHEREAS, At dusk on October 30, after an emergency resupply
2of water, dozens of CIDG troops rushed the water trailer; the
3enemy immediately fired mortars at them; with complete
4disregard for his own safety, Captain Albracht ran into this
5barrage to drive, lead, and in some cases carry CIDG troops out
6of the beaten zone; and
7    WHEREAS, On the morning of October 31, as a Medevac
8helicopter approached the firebase to evacuate several wounded
9men, the enemy fired mortars, small arms, and recoilless rifles
10at the wounded men; and
11    WHEREAS, Fearing for their lives, and with complete
12disregard for his own safety, Captain Albracht used his own
13body to shield 2 wounded men until they were on the helicopter;
15    WHEREAS, By November 1, relentless attacks by the
16numerically superior enemy had reduced Firebase Kate's
17defenders to 125 U.S. and allied soldiers, many of them
18wounded; resupply flights and air support by helicopter
19gunships were halted because of overwhelming enemy ground fire;
21    WHEREAS, Ordered to evacuate the firebase and then escape
22and evade the thousands of enemy troops surrounding them,



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1Captain Albracht led his forces off their hilltop at nightfall;
3    WHEREAS, When the CIDG point man froze at the entrance to a
4narrow path through thick jungle that was an obvious ambush
5location, Captain Albracht took the point and led his men
6forward; as they approached the tree line, an enemy machine gun
7directed plunging fire at the column; men scattered into an
8area littered with bomb and shell craters and splintered trees;
10    WHEREAS, To safeguard his men and keep them together, and
11with complete disregard for his own safety, Captain Albracht
12plunged into this area, grabbing men 2 and 3 at a time and
13redirecting them to a safer rallying point; then, evading enemy
14patrols while navigating entirely by dead reckoning, Captain
15Albracht led his men through 5 kilometers of thick, trackless
16jungle to a waiting rescue force; the combined force took a
17circuitous route to the safety of Special Forces Team A-236's
18camp at Bu Prang; and
19    WHEREAS, After 5 harrowing days, Captain Albracht's
20selfless courage and leadership had saved approximately 125
21U.S. and Allied soldiers; and
22    WHEREAS, Captain Albracht's actions resulted in the only



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1time during the 8 years that U.S. combat forces operated in
2South Vietnam that a unit surrounded by a numerically superior
3enemy force escaped intact; and
4    WHEREAS, Because of Captain Albracht, approximately 125
5men lived to fight another day; Captain Albracht's unflinching
6courage and unflagging leadership in the face of a well-trained
7and highly motivated enemy were in keeping with the highest
8traditions of the military service, and will forever reflect
9great credit upon both himself and the United States Army; and
10    WHEREAS, Capt. William Albracht has been the recipient of 3
11Silver Star Medals, 3 Purple Heart Medals, 5 Bronze Star Medals
12(3 for valor), 2 Air Medals (one for valor), and the Army
13Commendation Medal (for valor), but was not awarded the Medal
14of Honor for his courageous acts at Firebase Kate; and
15    WHEREAS, The members of this body believe that the
16gallantry displayed by Captain William Albracht on those
17fateful days deserves to be further reviewed by the Department
18of the Army and the Department of Defense in order to determine
19if his actions are worthy of this nation's highest military
20honor; therefore, be it
22ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that we urge Congress, the



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1Department of the Army, and the Department of Defense to again
2review Captain Albracht's heroic actions at Firebase Kate and,
3if warranted, upgrade the Silver Star Medal bestowed on him for
4those actions to the Medal of Honor; and be it further
5    RESOLVED, That suitable copies of this resolution be
6presented to the President, the Speaker and Minority Leader of
7the United States House of Representatives, and the Majority
8and Minority Leaders of the United States Senate.