Re-printed from qconline.com
By John Marx, email@example.com
Moline’s Ken Moffet and Rock Island’s Joe Murphy are leading a charge to right to what they — and many others believe — is a wrong.
Mr. Murphy and Mr. Moffet, both Vietnam War veterans, say William Albracht deserves to be a Medal of Honor recipient for his heroics at Fire Base Kate during the Vietnam War.
They say the Department of the Army erred in making Mr. Albracht a Silver Star recipient — his third such honor for heroism — last December.
“I am aware of what is going on, but I have nothing to do with the process,” said Mr. Albracht, of Moline, a retired Secret Service agent. “I was flattered and graciously accepted the Silver Star, and I’m flattered by those doing what they are doing, but it’s their project, not mine.”
Forty-three years ago, Mr. Albracht, a 21-year-old Green Beret captain, was in charge of United States military evacuation at the battle site known as Fire Base Kate in the Quang Duc province of South Vietnam.
Under siege for days by enemy insurgents, Mr. Albracht’s leadership, his calm under extreme duress and care for countless other soldiers was exemplary, supporters say. Written and audio transcripts from the siege show that Capt. Albracht was responsible for saving hundreds of lives.
The latest push to honor him began when Mr. Moffet, Veterans Case Worker for former Congressman Bobby Schilling, attended the Silver Star ceremony for Mr. Albracht at the Rock Island Arsenal.
“It was hearing again what Capt. Albracht did that struck Joe (Murphy) and I,” Mr. Moffet said. “His numerous heroic acts and the lives saved by him alone, meets the criteria of the Medal of Honor. We believe there were inadequacies in the review process (by the Department of the Army), so we decided to push on and to seek help.”
The two took their plea to Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk’s office. Mr. Moffet said he received verbal confirmation in December that Sen. Kirk’s office would look into the situation.
“Those of us involved in this effort are not satisfied with the effort by Sen. Kirk’s office,” Mr. Moffet said. “In three months, I have received one email from a Sen. Kirk rep concerning this issue. I have sent nearly one dozen emails, and left as many phone messages, none of which were returned.”
In an email, Mr. Moffet said he met with Rep. Cheri Bustos’ district director, Heidi Schultz, to request Rep. Bustos’ assistance.
“In less than one week, Ms. Schultz has already made contact with several congressional liaisons in Washington, D.C. who are assisting her with the process of how to best make this work,’ ” Mr. Moffet wrote. “A letter is being drafted to address this very issue.”
Mr. Moffet said Vietnam Veteran associations across Illinois are working on ways to get the Department of the Army to take another look at Mr. Albracht’s situation.
“The movement to make this right has the support of many people, not just locally, but statewide,” Mr. Moffet said. “The goal is to simply get the Department of the Army to take a closer look.”
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