Moline Memories - MHS 66 Friends

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Rest in Peace, Elizabeth Lagomarcino

Elizabeth A. "Betsy" Lagomarcino, 91, of Moline, passed away Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, at UnityPoint Health-Trinity Rock Island.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 17, at St. Mary's Catholic Church, Moline. Visitation will be 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at Rafferty Funeral Home, 2111 1st St. A, Moline, with a Christian wake service at 3:30 p.m. Burial will be at St. Mary's Cemetery, East Moline. Memorials can be made to Alleman High School, St. Mary's Church, Wounded Warriors or LOGAN Community Resources for people with special needs.
Betsy was born Oct. 9, 1923, in Flint, Mich., the daughter of DeWitt and Bernice Dalton Pinch. She married Thomas P. Lagomarcino on Aug. 27, 1949, in Chippewa Fall, Wis. He preceded her in death on June 11, 2011.
Betsy was owner and operator for Lagomarcino's Confectionery, Moline, with her husband, Tom. She joined the business while raising six children, becoming actively involved as Tom's partner in the business as well as at home. Her specialty was shipping, working the sandwich bar and taking a genuine interest in customers.
Betsy was a member of St. Mary's Church, Moline. She was a very busy, active lady who enjoyed life. She loved to play cards, garden, read and travel. Her favorite times were family times. Family meant everything to Betsy and, as the family grew, she embraced the role of "Noni," taking an active interest in her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She and Tom loved their "camp" on the Rock River where they boated and hosted gatherings for family and friends. Even Betsy's bridge club had the opportunity to enjoy the camp.
Betsy was the type of person who reached out to others, whether it was writing a note, delivering a meal, visiting with a bouquet of flowers from her garden or extending an invitation to come for dinner. There was always room for one more at the table. She led by example, extending acts of kindness to so many. As a son of a close family friend so aptly said, "Betsy to Heaven and Heavens to Betsy."
Survivors include her children, Mary Beth Lagomarcino (Terry Otten), Moline, Tom (Sandy) Lagomarcino, Moline, Ann Lagomarcino (Brian Pyszka), South Bend, Ind., Paul (Valerie) Lagomarcino, Naperville, Ill., Lisa (Phil) Ambrose, Davenport, and Carol (Mike) Babcock, Bethalto, Ill.; 19 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

A video may be viewed and condolences may be left at

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Moline Viet Nam Hero To Appear on Fox

Author Bill Albracht earned three Silver Stars.

Moline's Bill Albracht and the book circuit are about to get close.
Mr. Albracht has co-authored "Abandoned in Hell: The Fight for Vietnam's Fire Base Kate,'' with Marvin Wolf. It details his days at Vietnam's Fire Base Kate and is scheduled for release by Penguin Press on Feb. 3.
Mr. Albracht will discuss the book and his experiences in Vietnam during a Feb. 4 appearance on "Fox & Friends," a talk show that appears locally on Fox News Live at 5 a.m. and is the top-rated cable morning show nationally.
It features Steve Doocy, Elisabeth Hasselbeck,  Brian Kilmeade, Tucker Carlson. Anna Kooiman and Clayton Morris. Mr. Albracht has yet to learn his interview time slot.
"I am excited on many fronts,'' he said. "First, that a show of this caliber feels I am worthy enough to come in and sit down is amazing. The other is the exposure for the book.''
Transcripts say that in October 1969, Mr. Albracht, the youngest Green Beret captain in Vietnam, took command of a remote hilltop outpost called Fire Base Kate, held by 27 American soldiers and 150 Montagnard militiamen.
At dawn the next morning, three North Vietnamese Army regiments -- some 6,000 men -- crossed the Cambodian border and attacked.
Outnumbered three dozen to one, Mr. Albracht's men held off repeated ground assaults by communist forces with hand-to-hand fighting, air support and a dangerously close B-52 strike.
For days, the North Vietnamese blanketed Kate in a rain of fire from rockets, mortars, artillery, machine guns and small arms, blocking efforts to supply, reinforce or evacuate the outpost.
Mr. Albracht exposed himself to enemy fire to direct air strikes and guide supply helicopters, hoping to distribute ammunition and water to his men. Wounded by rocket shrapnel, he refused medical attention or evacuation. Exhausted from days without sleep, he continued to rally his men to fend off each new enemy attack.
After five days, Kate's defenders were out of ammo and water. Aerial supply failed, and reinforcements were denied by military commanders who had written off Kate.
Mr. Albracht refused to surrender or die where he stood, leading his troops, including many wounded, off the hill and on a daring night march through enemy lines.
Mr. Albracht, later received a Purple Heart and two Silver Stars for his leadership at Kate.

Rest in Peace - Russell Reynolds, MHS66

Russ Reynolds

MOLINE — Russell E. Reynolds, 66, of Moline died Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015, at Trinity Rock Island.
Services are 1 p.m. Monday in the Horizon Room at Trimble Funeral Home at Trimble Pointe, 701 12th St., Moline, with Pastor Chuck Dorsey and Major Karen Felton officiating. Following the services, Russ’s family will greet friends at a fellowship gathering and luncheon at CityView Celebrations at Trimble Pointe. Private entombment will be at Rock Island National Cemetery, Arsenal Island. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the National Pancreatic Cancer Research Foundation or the American Liver Foundation.
Russell Edward Reynolds was born Oct. 27, 1948, in Muscatine, to Edward and Reba (Blaine) Reynolds. He graduated from Moline High School and Black Hawk College. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps, and the Marine Corps Reserves. He married Jody Geist in 1970, and they were later divorced. He married Patricia Ann Cox Hanrahan on Oct. 6, 2012, in Davenport. He was a journeyman carpenter with Carpenters Union Local 166 for several years, retiring in 2008.
Russ was passionate about his missionary work in Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, the Appalachian Mountains and locally, and worked with Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans. He was a member of Memorial Christian Church, Moline, and volunteered with the Salvation Army in Davenport. He was a drummer for many local bands, but enjoyed church praise bands the most. He enjoyed woodworking, carpentry, cycling, traveling and dancing.
Russ is survived by his wife, Patty; two daughters and sons-in-law, Jennifer Reynolds and Daniel Hankins, Moline, and Francine and Mike Scheller, Grantham, N.H.; stepchildren, Tamara Melchi, and her husband, Michael, Rock Island, Tony Rochelle, Galesburg, Ill., Angela Parker, Galesburg, and Tim Hanrahan, and his wife, Claudia, Aurora, Ill.; 12 grandchildren; one great-grandchild; and siblings and their spouses, Nancy Johnson, Moline, Carol and Herb Dewey, Omaha, Neb., and Neil and Christine Reynolds, Sterling, Ill.
Russ’s family is grateful to Drs. Garneau and Gowda, and the staffs at Hope Creek Care Center, Trinity Rock Island and Trinity Hospice for their loving care.
Remembrances and condolences may be shared with the family at

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Rest in Peace - Mary McKenzie, 93 - Mother of Jan McKenzie, MHS 68

Mary McKenzie

Obituary for Mary McKenzie

Mary Hazel McKenzie, 93, of Moline, IL, died Sunday, January 11, 2015, at Clarissa C. Cook Hospice House, Bettendorf, IA.

Funeral services will be held at 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, January 20, 2015, at Esterdahl Mortuary & Crematory, Ltd., 6601-38th Avenue, Moline, IL. Visitation will be from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., Monday, January 19, 2015, at the funeral home. Burial will be at National Cemetery, Rock Island Arsenal. Memorials may be made to Honor Flight of the Quad Cities or Quad-City Paws.

Mary was born on May 14, 1921, in Sleeper, MO, the daughter of Fred Lee and Mabelle Lillian Myers Clifton. She married William Lee McKenzie on August 23, 1942 in Moline. He preceded her in death on September 23, 1998. Mary received a B.A. from Western Illinois University and was the Quality Assurance Career Program Manager at the Rock Island Arsenal, before retiring in 1990.

Mary had been a member of Faith Lutheran Church since 1953, where she sang in the choir. She was also a member of King’s Daughters, volunteered 41 years at the John Deere Classic, and was a Festival of Trees volunteer since its inception. Mary was on the Board at Friendship Manor, ushered at the Adler since they re-opened, and was a lifetime member of Oakwood Country Club, where she scored a hole-in-one on April 2, 1995. Mary enjoyed playing bridge for many years, enjoyed tap dancing, traveling through most of Europe as well as the United States, participated in the Senior Olympics, and was a member of a Caelie Dancing Group. She was also in several productions at the Quad-City Music Guild, sang in Messiah with the Handel Oratorio Society at Augustana, and was a member of the Arsenal Women’s Club and the Quad City Art Guild.

Survivors include

Daughter Janice McKenzie Moline
Numerous Nieces and Nephews and Godchildren
A Wealth of Friends, who will miss her greatly

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Bill; 6 brothers and 3 sisters, Frieda VandeVoort, Earl Clifton, Jack Clifton, Ralph Clifton, Vera Stannke, Fred Clifton, Ernest Clifton, Ruth Stelter, Don Clifton.

Online condolences may be left for her family by visiting

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Abandoned in Hell - New Book by Moliner William Albracht

The Library Journal:
Albracht, William & Marvin J. Wolf. Abandoned in Hell: The Fight for Vietnam’s Firebase Kate. NAL:Penguin. Feb. 2015. 384p. index. ISBN 9780451468086. $27.95; ebk.ISBN 9780698144262. HIST

In early November 1969, 21-year-old U.S. Army Captain Bill Albracht led 126 men on a desperate, against-all-odds escape from Firebase Kate, located in South Vietnam’s Central Highlands, near the Cambodian border. Albracht and Wolf (Buddha’s Child) present a vivid, often gripping account of the attack by 6,000 members of the People’s Army of Vietnam. Storming Firebase Kate guaranteed Albracht’s and his military unit’s death if they didn’t leave hastily, although the escape plan offered no promise of their staying alive. 

Captain William Albracht lives in Moline with his wife.

Initially, Albracht received support from helicopters and 156 anti-North Vietnamese Montagnards (to whom this book is dedicated) but ultimately survival would depend on Albracht’s resourcefulness at moving his men through jungles in pitch-black darkness for 16 hours. 

VERDICT This fast-paced narrative encapsulates Vietnam War themes, significantly the bravery of grunts and company grade officers and their loyalty to one another, and also bureaucratic mistakes with tragic consequences made by inexperienced officers and government officials too far removed from front-line action. Ultimately, Firebase Kate, as Albracht says, was built in a vulnerable location and its men were “written off” when they could no longer defend it. Readers of such excellent battlefield works as Harold Moore and Joseph Galloway’s We Were Soldiers Once...And Young will delve into this one.—Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA

Greg McCluskey 
Bill Albracht is one of the very few, living, triple Silver Star recipients. As a Green Beret, he was the youngest Captain in Vietnam. He was only age 21. Wounded 3 times, he received 3 Purple Hearts. He also received 3 Bronze Stars and more. After the Army and graduating college, Bill became a Secret Service Agent for a quarter of a century. He is a super volunteer in his community. He has a Big heart and a great sense of humor.


William L. Albracht; Three Silver Stars

 | October 14, 2014 18 Comments
William L. Albracht
The other day, we talked about Francis Graham, the former UDT Navy diver and Special forces Vietnam veteran, and it reminded me of a few months ago when a member of the media asked me to check on William L. Albracht, who he’d heard had earned three Silver Stars, so off I went to Military Times’ Hall of Heroes thinking I’d bumped into another phony – but lo and behold, he had actually earned three Silver Stars, from October 1969 to May 1970. You can read the citations at the link.
The last one had been awarded in December 2012, reported by the Quad-City Times;
Just 21 years old then, Albracht — one of the youngest Army Special Forces captains — arrived at a remote outpost in South Vietnam known as Fire-Base Kate on Oct. 28, 1969. That same day, North Vietnamese forces attacked the base.
“Against great odds and while being greatly outnumbered by the North Vietnamese, Capt. Albracht led
his soldiers through the first wave of attacks,” Smith said, adding that Albracht and his men were outnumbered 40-1. “It was not looking good for the home team.”
While under enemy fire, Albracht carried a wounded soldier to safety and then risked his life again by directing medical evacuation helicopters.
“At one point, he exposed himself to enemy fire to wave off approaching Medevac helicopters — who were vulnerable to B-40 rockets — while attempting to land,” Smith said.
Later wounded himself, Albracht refused treatment and evacuation “so he could lead the fight.”
Days later with supplies running low, he executed orders to evacuate the remaining 150 U.S. soldiers and South Vietnamese soldiers. On Nov. 1, 1969, he led the group through darkness into the dense jungle to link up with another unit five kilometers away.
“For six hours, Albracht and his men persevered, plowing through the jungle with the North Vietnamese in hot pursuit,” Smith said.
Finally near a wide-open clearing, he “sensed a military force was present but was unsure the other side was occupied by the friendly ‘Mike-Force’ or a North Vietnamese ambush. Albracht then walked alone through the clearing to find the friendly ‘Mike-Force’ was on the other side.” He then led his soldiers “stealthily through more enemy lines” to safety.
You can read the whole story about the “Miraculous Escape from Firebase Kate” at the Vietnam Veterans Association. His Congresswoman, Cheri Bustos, has asked the Secretary of the Army to review the story and consider Mr. Albracht for the award of the Medal of Honor.
Added: Someone tells us that a book is coming out next year about Mr. Albracht;ABANDONED IN HELL: The Forgotten Fight for Vietnam’s Firebase Kate.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Christmas and New Year's for MHS 1966

True Dee, Darlene, and Jayne - New Year's.

Lucia and Marilyn
Patty, grandson, Jeff Hall
Dave Pearson and Linda Nelson Pearson

Sassy Sue's Blog.