Wolf, Marvin J.
Galloway, Joseph L.
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In October 1969, William Albracht, the youngest Green Beret captain in Vietnam, took command of a remote hilltop outpost called Firebase Kate held by only twenty-seven American soldiers and 156 Montagnard militiamen. He found their defenses woefully unprepared. At dawn the next morning, three North Vietnamese Army regiments - some six thousand men - crossed the Cambodian border and attacked.
Outnumbered three dozen to one, Albracht's men held off repeated ground assaults by Communist forces through fierce hand-to-hand fighting, air support, and a dangerously close B-52 strike. For days, the NVA blanketed Kate in a rain of rockets, mortars, artillery, and machine-gun and small-arms fire, blocking efforts to resupply, reinforce, or evacuate the outpost. Albracht continually exposed himself to enemy fire to direct air strikes, to guide resupply helicopters, to distribute ammunition and water to his men, to retrieve the dead, and to rescue the wounded, often shielding men with his own body. Wounded by rocket shrapnel, he refused medical attention or evacuation. Exhausted from days without sleep, he continued to rally his men to beat off each new enemy attack.
After five days, Kate's defenders were out of ammo and water. Aerial resupply attempts would have been suicidal, and reinforcements were denied by military commanders who had written off Kate. Refusing to die in place or to allow his men to surrender, Albracht led his troops, including many wounded, off the hill and on a daring night march through enemy lines, a feat never duplicated during the Vietnam War.
Abandoned in Hell is an astonishing memoir of leadership, sacrifice, and brutal violence, a riveting journey into Vietnam's heart of darkness, and a compelling reminder of the transformational power of individual heroism. Not since Lone Survivor and We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young has there been such a gripping and authentic account of battlefield courage.
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