Congresswoman Cheri Bustos Advocates For Medal Of Honor Review For Vietnam War Veteran Bill Albracht

Bustos Amendment Requiring Secretary Of Army To Review Albracht’s Medal Of Honor Nomination Passed With Overwhelming Bipartisan Support On House Floor

Video Of Bustos Advocating For Albracht HERE

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) advocated for Vietnam War hero Bill Albracht of Moline by offering an amendment, that passed late last night with overwhelming bipartisan support on the House floor, that would require the Secretary of the Army to review and report back on Albracht’s Medal of Honor nomination.  The amendment was incorporated into the National Defense Authorization Act, which will be voted on later today.  

In 1969, Mr. Albracht, then a 21-year-old Green Beret captain from Rock Island, saved 150 lives during the evacuation of the battle site known as Firebase Kate in the Quang Duc province of South Vietnam.  Under siege for days by the enemy, Mr. Albracht displayed exemplary leadership, calm under duress and selflessness.  Albracht was awarded a Silver Star for his bravery at Firebase Kate, but many contend that he deserves a Medal of Honor.

Bustos’ amendment would require the Army to conduct a thorough review of Albracht’s Medal of Honor nomination and to report back on their findings and award determination.       

Video of Bustos advocating for Albracht can be found HERE.

Bustos’ remarks on Albracht that will be entered in the Congressional Record are below.

Mr. Chairman,

I am here to ask that you support my amendment requesting the Secretary of the Army to review and provide a report on the Medal of Honor nomination of Captain William L. Albracht of Moline, Illinois. 

Many, including the Vietnam Veterans of America, strongly believe that after reviewing all of the documentation that the Silver Star is not commensurate with Captain Albracht’s actions during the five days of the siege of Firebase Kate in South Vietnam.

It is the belief that the Army performed a cursory review of the nomination, given the length of time between Captain Albracht’s heroic actions and his initial Medal of Honor nomination.

Forty-three years ago, Captain Albracht, then a 21-year-old Green Beret, was in charge of a U. S. military evacuation at Firebase Kate.

Captain Albracht's strong leadership, calm under extreme duress, and care for countless other soldiers was exemplary. He was responsible for saving 150 lives.

Outnumbered 40-to-1 and vulnerable, conditions grew more dire. Albracht took shrapnel to the arm. The wound easily could have landed him aboard one of the last medevac helicopters that dared approach Firebase Kate.

But he chose to stay.

He led these 150 men off the base, despite being wounded, surrounded and constantly targeted by the enemy. After long nights, Captain Albracht's escape plan worked.

After arriving safely at a nearby outpost, word came that there would be a ceremony to honor their heroic actions.  A helicopter was sent to pick up Captain Albracht, despite poor flying conditions that had grounded many other aircraft.

Upon arrival of the helicopter, Captain Albracht noted that there were several wounded soldiers who could not be airlifted due to weather conditions. He told the aircrew of his helicopter to get the men to a hospital. Giving up his seat caused him to miss the ceremony. His actions went unrecognized for four decades.

Others under Captain Albracht’s command and guidance were awarded Silver Stars for their actions that day. However, Captain Albracht was not recognized for leading his soldiers to safety through the dense Vietnamese jungle while repeatedly facing extreme enemy fire. 

Many believe that every man at Firebase Kate would have died if not for Captain Albracht.  There was no one else capable of calling in an airstrike and no one there capable of inspiring these men to follow him into that jungle.

This is why I am requesting that the Army review and provide a report on why Captain Albracht’s heroic actions and Medal of Honor nomination was downgraded two levels. 

Thank you.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back.