President Donald Trump on Monday awarded retired Army Capt. Gary “Mike” Rose the Congressional Medal of Honor, the most prestigious military award a service member can receive, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving as a medic during the Vietnam War.
The ceremony comes more than 47 years after the mission, a covert four-day mission in southeastern Laos in 1970, which was known as Operation Tailwind.
“For many years, the story of Mike’s heroism has gone untold, but today we gather to tell the world of his valor and present him with the highest military honor our country has to offer,” Trump said. “This will enshrine him into the history of our nation.”
Rose, 71, delivered care under fire to nearly 70 wounded soldiers when his unit came under attack by the North Vietnamese Army. He “crawled from one soldier to the next” to provide lifesaving treatment.
“Mike, this is serious stuff,” remarked Trump of Rose’s heroic act.
He added, “We have a room full of people and a nation that thanks God that you lived.”
Congressional action was necessary to allow Rose to receive the Medal of Honor, as it’s been more than the required five years after his heroic actions. Alabama 5th District U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, who represents Huntsville where Rose now lives with his wife Margaret, worked with his Congressional colleagues to insert language into the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act waiving the normal requirement, allowing Rose the prestigious medal.
“Captain Rose’s mission was classified until the late 1990s… Operation Tailwind was kept secret for decades, and I am glad these inspirational heroes and their actions are finally receiving the recognition they deserve,” said Brooks, who also attended the ceremony,
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 bronze 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.