William Albracht of Bettendorf, is one of three recipients of the 2018 Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Illinois Community College Trustees Association.
Albracht is a graduate of Black Hawk College, and a highly decorated Vietnam veteran, retired Secret Service officer, author and speaker.
“He is an ordinary person who applied himself to military service, his education, and the pursuit of a career in government service,” said Dr. John Erwin, interim president of Black Hawk College.
Albracht joined the U.S. Army in 1966 after high school graduation. A year later, at 19, he was commissioned a second lieutenant, and spent his military career in Special Forces, commonly referred to as the “Green Berets.”
He is the recipient of three Silver Stars for gallantry in action, three Purple Hearts, five Bronze Stars and several other awards for combat valor, and is one of the most highly decorated veterans of the Vietnam War.
After returning to civilian life, Albracht attended Black Hawk College in Moline from 1971-73, graduating with an associate in arts degree.
He earned a bachelor's degree at Augustana College in Rock Island and becane a U.S. Secret Service special agent. Over a 25-year White House career, he protected six American presidents, their families and visiting foreign dignitaries. He also worked to safeguard America's monetary system and conducted criminal investigations for the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
Albracht retired in 2001 and managed executive security operations for the Ford Motor Company before returning to the Quad Cities in 2005 to open a security consulting firm.
He is the author of “Abandoned in Hell: The Fight for Vietnam’s Firebase Kate.” Published in 2015, the book details the attack on the remote hilltop outpost during the Vietnam War and how the 21-year-old Albracht led his troops off the hill and on a night march through enemy lines.