HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- In many ways the Vietnam War was like every other war in modern times. There were dozens of battles, thousands of fire fights and countless acts of bravery by men and women like Huntsville's Mike Rose.
As a youngster he lived in California. He would finish high school and two years of college before enlisting in the Army. As a young soldier there was no way Mike could have any premonition of his ultimate military destiny.
He became a Special Forces Medic, and in September of 1970 his unit, which included indigenous Vietnamese forces, would be flown some 45 miles behind enemy lines to gather intelligence. The mission would become a four-day running gun battle. Mike Rose would become the definition of bravery. "I've come to accept that people are interested in it, and my problem is, I don't remember a huge percentage of what people told me that I did. I just don't remember," said Mike Rose.
While Mike doesn't remember, the official battle narrative does. It has multiple passages on how Sgt. Rose exposed his body to gunfire without thinking of himself. He was asked if he remembered doing that? "No, not a clue," said Mike.
From the Battle Narrative there's this passage, "Sgt. Rose bravely and courageously, with no regard to his own safety, moved through the enemy fire to render lifesaving medical treatment."
In another passage from the Narrative, "Sgt. Rose ran, crawled, and maneuvered his way to this wounded man, shielding the soldier with his own body."
"When people tell me these things, when I've read some of these eyewitness reports, to me it's like reading an action novel," said Mike. It might read like a novel, but in this case it was a very real story where the hero was hurt. Again from the Battle Narrative, "Sgt. Rose received the first of many wounds on the second day of the mission."
Looking at the photo of Mike Rose petting a dog back at base, he doesn't look extraordinary, but this man would be wounded multiple times and still perform his job. "There was always wounded to attend to. We were always getting probed or shot at during that four days. In fact that was happening right up to the time we were extracted," said Mike Rose.
The team was extracted, though three Vietnamese fighters who died were left behind. Mike says that haunts him to this day, but there just weren't enough soldiers to fight and to also carry the bodies.
In 1971 General Creighton Abrams awarded Mike Rose the Distinguished Service Cross for his bravery. He would stay in the Army for some 20-years, retiring as a Captain. Now, he is about to receive the Medal of Honor for his actions on those four days in 1970. "Super Brave, and thinking about other people and putting them first over his own personal safety. In that, I think he's every special. He's always concerned. He still is," said Mike's wife Margaret.
Mike Rose still loves to look at old photos from his Army days. All the talk and questions about what happened in 1970 are helping him remember more about the battle. As far as the Medal he'll receive. "That Medal of Honor to me, represents all the good for all the things those valiant people did so many years ago," said Mike Rose.
President Donald Trump will present the Medal of Honor to Mike Rose at the White House on October 23.