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HomeNewsUSPresident Trump Awards Captain Gary “Mike” Rose the Medal of Honor 47 Years After Secret Mission

President Trump Awards Captain Gary “Mike” Rose the Medal of Honor 47 Years After Secret Mission

President Donald Trump awards retired Army Captain Gary "Mike" Rose the Medal of Honor, reserved for men and women who fought "valiantly" in the line of duty. (Photo: SS)
President Donald Trump awards retired Army Captain Gary "Mike" Rose the Medal of Honor, reserved for men and women who fought "valiantly" in the line of duty. (Photo: SS)

President Donald Trump awards retired Army Captain Gary “Mike” Rose the Medal of Honor, reserved for men and women who fought “valiantly” in the line of duty. (Photo: SS)

President Donald Trump at the White House on Monday awarded retired Army Captain Gary “Mike” Rose the Medal of Honor 47 years after he saved lives on a secret mission in Laos. Then a sergeant, the injured hero ran through gunfire to treat more than 50 soldiers who were fighting the North Vietnamese, carrying wounded men with one arm and returning fire on the enemy with his other.

He didn’t sleep for days but all 16 American soldiers deployed with him made it home.

Mr. Rose, now 69, served as a medic in the Military Assistance Command Studies and Observations Group, an elite division assigned to the 46th Special Forces Company headquartered in Thailand. “Operation Tailwind” in September 1970 was so secret that he never spoke about it to anyone for more than 4 decades -– including the people he served with.

“When we left MAG SOC, the unit did not exist,” Captain Rose said. “If anyone asked me, I was going to be a mail clerk during the Vietnam War.”

The unit included Americans, Vietnamese and indigenous paramilitary personnel known as the Montagnards.

“This medal and the presidential citation, it honors what the [Vietnam-era veteran] had done,” Mr. Rose told reporters on Friday. “They were asked to do a very difficult thing and they did it. They fought hard and, unfortunately, many didn’t make it back. This honors them. We stand up for them and are a focal point in that honor.”

On Sept. 11, 1970, they were sent deep into enemy territory. As soon as they made contact, the fighting was fierce and two Americans and two Montagnards were wounded. Mr. Rose didn’t hesitated. At one point during the extraction of troops in the hot LZ (landing zone), one of the helicopters crashed to the ground, injuring several personnel on board and killing one.

Those injured were pulled to safety by none other than then-Sergeant Rose. Due to his heroism, only 3 men died during the 4 days of nearly constant heavy gunfire. Rose had already earned the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second-highest award for valor.

In 1998, CNN and Time ran reports claiming Captain Rose and the soldiers in Operation Tailwind were in Laos to capture American defectors and used deadly Sarin nerve gas. However, a U.S. Pentagon investigation outright dismissed the report, saying the mission was collecting intelligence on the logistics of the North Vietnamese army, disrupting and destroying supply lines.

In 2016, the U.S. Congress passed legislation authorizing the Medal of Honor for Rose, waiving the five-year time limit.

Captain Rose enlisted in April 1967. In 1968, he completed his training as an 18-Delta (Special Forces medic) and was assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group before being reassigned to the 46th Special Forces Company.

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