If anyone were going to write a tell-all biography about a former president, the best person to do the job would be his personal secret service agent. Not only would this agent get to see what the president was like behind closed doors, but he’d also know how the man acted while under pressure and facing some of the most monumental decisions in a country’s history.
Decorated Vietnam veteran and retired Secret Service agent Bill Albracht wants the world to know what the former president was like not only as a leader but as a man. Since Bush passed away on November 30, Albracht has sifted through thousands of photographs and notes about his time working with the former president. Albracht was assigned as Bush’s personal secret service agent from 1982 to 1987, while Bush was Ronald Reagan’s vice president. Albracht followed Bush almost every single day. And during that time, Albracht and all the other agents knew Bush by a name no one else knew. It might come as quite a surprise for you.
“Timberwolf — on the radio that would be his call sign,” said Albracht.
If Bush had an alternate name, what was his wife, Barbara’s name? Albracht was all too happy to share that secret as well.
Because the secret service does not want people to be able to track the president and other important people, they use code names. These help protect the leaders from potential assassins and other dangerous situations.
Albracht remembers one Christmas back in the 1980s. He bought Bush, the vice president at the time, a bright red coat along with a howling wolf on the back.
“It was to help the new guys get to know who he was,” Albracht said with a smile. “He got the biggest kick out of that. He thought it was so funny. He put it on, and we took pictures and everything. Great sense of humor.”
Albracht has a lot of happy memories with Bush. He remembers him as a fun and jovial man, just as much of America does. While the secret service gave Bush a nickname, he did not hesitate to dish it back to them with a few of his own.
He used to call his secret service agents:
“Marshals,” Albracht said. “He equated us to Matt Dillon from Gunsmoke. It was a term of endearment and a term of respect, but we always kind of smiled every time he said it.”
During an interview with WQAD, the correspondent asked Albracht what he would want to say to the forty-first president if he had the chance. Albracht did not hesitate when he said, “Thank you. Thank you for letting me be part of your life.”
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