Legionnaire Gary Michael “Mike” Rose of Alabama receives Medal of Honor, 47 years after his actions.

 
« Previous story
Next story »
 
Legionnaire Gary Michael “Mike” Rose of Alabama receives Medal of Honor, 47 years after his actions.

[Rose in the middle, picture via Army, courtesy of Ted Wicorek.]

From Washington Post:

President Trump presented the Medal of Honor on Monday to Capt. Gary Michael Rose, a Vietnam War medic who repeatedly risked his life and exposed himself to enemy fire to ensure the safe return of dozens of fellow soldiers during a bloody four-day mission in Laos.

The story is extraordinary:

In 1967, at the age of 19, Rose joined the U.S. Army and became a Special Forces medic. In his second combat mission, Rose set out on Sept. 11, 1970, on what Trump described as a “harrowing four-day mission” with American, Vietnamese and paramilitary Montagnard personnel into enemy-controlled territory in Laos for Operation Tailwind.

The group soon met enemy fire, leaving two Americans and two Montagnards wounded. Rosewho was the only medic among 136 men, rushed to rescue one of the wounded and carried him back to the company through heavy gunfire.

On the mission’s second day, he ran and then crawled 40 to 50 meters outside his company’s area to save one of the Montagnard fightersdragging the wounded soldier back to the company with one hand, firing his weapon from the other.

On his way back to his company, a rocket-propelled grenade landed near Rose, sending shrapnel through Rose’s back, leg and foot. Rose ignored his own wounds, and using a stick as a crutch, focused instead on the other wounded fighter as they made their way back to the rest of the company.

In case the operation sounds vaguely familiar, Operation Tailwind would later result in a “expose” by CNN that was so rife with errors and falsifications that it ended up getting most the people fired from it.   They alleged without any evidence that the US troops had engaged in war crimes, including use of Sarin gas.  It was absurd on the face of it, and luckily the men of the unit blasted the report and it got pulled.

First I’ll show you the video the Army did which lays out the operation and aftermath in the words of Captain Rose Himself.

For those that have the time, here is the actual awards ceremony.

The operation was essentially a secret for 4 decades, and this quote from Rose cracked me up, because every Medal of Honor recipient says basically the same thing:

“I wish it was still secret,” a modest Rose joked Friday. “I’m not used to the notoriety.”

“This medal, I consider a collective medal for all of us who fought on the ground, in the Air Force and the Marines on Operation Tailwind,” Rose said. “In a greater sense, it also honors the Special Forces during this time frame.”

“From my children, I get the idea they are kind of pretty proud of their dad,” Rose said Friday.

 

The citation for Captain Rose reads as follows:

Sergeant Gary M. Rose distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity while serving as a Special Forces Medic with a company-sized exploitation force, Special Operations Augmentation, Command and Control Central, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, Republic of Vietnam.

Between 11 and 14 September 1970, Sergeant Rose’s company was continuously engaged by a well-armed and numerically superior hostile force deep in enemy-controlled territory. Enemy B-40 rockets and mortar rounds rained down while the adversary sprayed the area with small arms and machine gun fire, wounding many and forcing everyone to seek cover.

Sergeant Rose, braving the hail of bullets, sprinted fifty meters to a wounded soldier’s side. He then used his own body to protect the casualty from further injury while treating his wounds. After stabilizing the casualty, Sergeant Rose carried him through the bullet-ridden combat zone to protective cover.

As the enemy accelerated the attack, Sergeant Rose continuously exposed himself to intense fire as he fearlessly moved from casualty to casualty, administering life-saving aid.

A B-40 rocket impacted just meters from Sergeant Rose, knocking him from his feet and injuring his head, hand, and foot. Ignoring his wounds, Sergeant Rose struggled to his feet and continued to render aid to the other injured soldiers.

During an attempted medevac, Sergeant Rose again exposed himself to enemy fire as he attempted to hoist wounded personnel up to the hovering helicopter, which was unable to land due to unsuitable terrain.

The medevac mission was aborted due to intense enemy fire and the helicopter crashed a few miles away due to the enemy fire sustained during the attempted extraction.

Over the next two days, Sergeant Rose continued to expose himself to enemy fire in order to treat the wounded, estimated to be half of the company’s personnel. On September 14, during the company’s eventual helicopter extraction, the enemy launched a full-scale offensive.

Sergeant Rose, after loading wounded personnel on the first set of extraction helicopters, returned to the outer perimeter under enemy fire, carrying friendly casualties and moving wounded personnel to more secure positions until they could be evacuated. He then returned to the perimeter to help repel the enemy until the final extraction helicopter arrived. As the final helicopter was loaded, the enemy began to overrun the company’s position, and the helicopter’s Marine door gunner was shot in the neck.

Sergeant Rose instantly administered critical medical treatment onboard the helicopter, saving the Marine’s life. The helicopter carrying Sergeant Rose crashed several hundred meters from the extraction point, further injuring Sergeant Rose and the personnel on board.

Despite his numerous wounds from the past three days, Sergeant Rose continued to pull and carry unconscious and wounded personnel out of the burning wreckage and continued to administer aid to the wounded until another extraction helicopter arrived.

Sergeant Rose’s extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty were critical to saving numerous lives over that four-day time period. His actions are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 1st Special Forces, and the United States Army.

For more on Captain Rose, both before, during and after the battle, the US Army has a typically excellent page devoted to it which can be accessed by CLICKING HERE.

 /Salute

 

 

Posted in the burner | 2 comments
 
« Previous story
Next story »

 

* To comment without a Facebook account, please scroll to the bottom.

Comments

With all the things that go on today protesting the flag and the national anthem your actions are a shining light in today’s turmoil of stupidity. Your heroism to give give to this country and not ask for something from this country extraordinary. we all love you and I salute you ssg Steven Munz USA retired

With all the things that go on today protesting the flag and the national anthem your actions are a shining light in today’s turmoil of stupidity. Your heroism to give give to this country and not ask for something from this country extraordinary. we all love you and I salute you ssg Steven Munz USA retired

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Have a tip for us? A link that should appear here? Contact us.
News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.