Retired Secret Service agent remembers President George H. W. Bush

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

BETTENDORF, Iowa -- Decorated Vietnam veteran and retired Secret Service agent Bill Albracht has been going through his photos, and his memories, since the death of former President George H. W. Bush.

Albracht protected President Bush just about every day from 1982 to 1987, when he was President Ronald Reagan's vice president. But back then, Albracht and his fellow Secret Service agents called President Bush another name.

"Timberwolf -- on the radio that would be his call sign," said Albracht. As for First Lady Barbara Bush, "Tranquility was hers. They're assigned by the White House Military Office," he said.

The Secret Service uses call signs on motorcades and other travel. One Christmas in the early '80s, Albracht bought the then-vice president a bright red coat with the call sign, and a howling wolf, embroidered on the back.

"It was to help the new guys get to know who he was," Albracht said jokingly. "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."

Wherever President Bush traveled, across the United States and around the world, he had a nickname for his Secret Service agents, too.

"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."

As the country says goodbye to 41, what would Albracht have said to President Bush if he'd had the chance?

"Thank you," he said. "Thank you for letting me be part of your life."





Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.