Readers of The VVA Veteran first learned the remarkable story of VVA life member William Albracht and the amazing escape he led from the besieged Firebase Kate near Ban Me Thuot in late October of 1969 in a feature article in the March/April 2013 issue. We then ran a review of the excellent book Albracht wrote on the subject with Marvin J. Wolf, Abandoned in Hell: The Fight for Vietnam’s Firebase Kate, in the January/February issue this year.
Now comes Escape From Firebase Kate (Storytellers International), a high-quality documentary written, directed, and edited by Paul Kakert. Narrated by J.V Martin, the doc also includes the voices former Army Special Forces Captain Albracht and others who served with him. In addition to the present-day interviews, Kakert makes good use of stock footage, stills taken at the time, and a life-like digital mock-up of the firebase and surrounding area, along with actual audio transmissions between Albracht on the ground and American pilots in the air.
Albracht, at twenty-one and the youngest Green Beret officer in Vietnam, faced a daunting task on his second day of command at Kate when between four and six thousand NVA poured out of Cambodia to try to overrun the little firebase. Albracht’s CIDG Montagnard fighters (about a hundred of them) tried to fend off the NVA with the help of his two dozen or so artillerymen.
Kate barely held on. Then Albracht led his remaining men on a harrowing, night-time E&E to link with two companies of Special Forces and Montagnards sent to rescue them.
His men have started a movement to have Bill Albracht (below, at Fire Base Kate) awarded the Medal of Honor. That would be in addition to his collection of awards that includes three Silver Stars, three Purple Hearts, five Bronze Stars (three for valor), two Air Medals (one for valor), and an Army Commendation Medal (for valor).
This excellent, moving documentary should be used as evidence to make the case. For more info on the doc, go to escapefromfirebasekate.com