WASHINGTON – A retired US Army Captain was awarded the Medal of Honor on Monday by President Donald Trump.
Captain Gary “Mike” Rose was honored for saving multiple lives during a four-day secret mission into Laos to target north Vietnamese soldiers in 1971 during the Vietnam War.
Rose enlisted in the Army in 1967 and eventually began Special Forces Training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and graduated as a Special Forces medic.
In 1970, Rose was a sergeant serving in Vietnam. He was with a company-sized exploitation force consisting of Americans, Vietnamese and indigenous paramilitary Montagnard personnel that was inserted 70 kilometers inside enemy-controlled territory.
While in enemy territory, they made contact with an enemy squad that left two Americans injured, one of whom was outside the defensive perimeter.
Rose engaged the enemy and rushed to get the wounded Soldier. He was able to give him medical aid and stabilize him before carrying him through heavy gunfire back to the defensive area.
The company continued to move deeper into enemy territory and Rose continued to render medical aid, often engaging the enemy and crawling from position to position just to reach the wounded men.
Rose was injured on the second day of the mission but that didn’t slow him down. He was returning from rescuing a wounding Soldier when a rocket-propelled grenade landed nearby and sprayed him with shrapnel. The shrapnel injured his back, leg and severely injury his foot. However, Rose used a stick as a crutch and continued the mission while ignoring his own wounds.
By this time, there were so many wounded that a medevac helicopter was called. The helicopter wasn’t able to land so Rose again disregarded his personal safety to help pass the wounded up to the helicopter. Enemy fire proved to be too much, however, and the pilot aborted the mission. The helicopter crashed a few miles away.
Rose continued to treat the wounded and ignore his own wounds. He fastened litters, drug trenches and treated injuries as they were surrounded by the enemy and bombarded with rockets, grenades and mortars.
Eventually extraction helicopters arrived and Rose assisted in helping the wounded into them before finally boarding the final helicopter himself. As they were leaving, the helicopter’s engine stopped and Rose was notified that a doorway gunner on the helicopter had been shot in the neck. Rose treated the Marine and saved his life before the helicopter crashed.
Rose was thrown from the helicopter before the crash but was able to crawl back to the aircraft and pull the wounded and unconscious from the wreckage before it exploded.
He continued to treat their wounds until another helicopter could arrive and transport them to safety.
During the four-day mission, only three men died. Rose is credited with treating 60-70 wounded and saving many lives.
Rose went on to be commissioned as a second lieutenant in Field Artillery in 1973. He retired as a Captain in 1987.
Rose’s military awards include the Distinguished Service Cross, the Bronze Star Medal with one oak leaf cluster and “V” device, the Purple Heart with two oak leaf clusters, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Good Conduct Medal with two knots, National Defense Medal, Vietnam Campaign with star, Presidential Unit Citation (MAC SOG), Vietnam Civic Action Honor Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry Unit Citation – with Palm Combat Medical Badge, Special Forces Tab, U.S. Army Parachute Badge, Thai Army Parachute Badge, Vietnam Parachute Badge, and several service ribbons.