October 23, 2017 - President Donald J. Trump awards
the Medal of Honor to retired Army Capt. Gary M. Rose, for conspicuous
gallantry during the Vietnam War, at a White House ceremony.
Video by and courtesy of DoD News Video edited by USA Patriotism!
Text of President Donald Trump's Remarks
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Chaplain Hurley.
Vice President Pence, Secretary Shulkin, members of Congress, members of
the Armed Forces, and distinguished guests, please join me in welcoming
Captain Gary Michael Rose to the White House. (Applause.)
For many years, the story of Mike’s heroism has gone
untold. But today we gather to tell the world of his valor and proudly
present him with our nation’s highest military honor.
Mike today is his wife, Margaret, their three children, Sarah, Claire,
and Michael, and their two grandchildren, Kaitlyn and Christian. Kaitlyn
and Christian, I want you to know that the medal that we will present
today will forever enshrine your grandfather -- and he is a good man. We
just spoke to him for a long time, and you are great, great young
people. But this will enshrine him into the history of our nation.
We're also grateful to be joined by nine previous Congressional
Medal of Honor recipients. Their courage, character, and conviction is
beyond measure. Please stand. (Applause.) We are honored to be in their
This afternoon, I want to take a few moments to share
with you the incredible story of Mike’s heroic deeds.
Watertown, New York, Mike’s father was a metalworker and a World War II
veteran. He taught his son that we live in the greatest country in the
world, and that we must love it, cherish it, and always defend it.
Mike took that very much to heart. After his first year in college,
he enlisted in the Army, and by the time he was 22, Mike was a medic for
the Fifth Special Forces Group in the Vietnam War.
11, 1970, Mike was called on his second combat mission. He was the only
medic for 136 men who embarked on one of the group’s biggest missions of
the war: Operation Tailwind.
Their goal was to prevent the North
Vietnamese from funneling weapons along the Ho Chi Minh Trail to use
against our American troops. Helicopters dropped the unit into Laos.
Before they even touched the ground, enemy fire struck three men.
Once they landed in the clearing, they rushed to the jungle for much
needed cover. Soon, another man was shot outside their defensive
perimeter. Mike immediately rushed to his injured comrade, firing at the
enemy as he ran. In the middle of the clearing, under the machine gun
fire, Mike treated the wounded soldier. He shielded the man with his own
body and carried him back to safety.
But this was just the
beginning of Mike’s harrowing four-day mission. Mike and his unit
slashed through the dense jungle, dodged bullets, dodged explosives,
dodged everything that you can dodge because they threw it all at him,
and continuously returned fire as they moved deeper and deeper and
deeper into enemy territory.
Throughout the engagement, Mike
rescued those in distress without any thought for his own safety. I will
tell you, the people with him could not believe what they were
witnessing. He crawled from one soldier to the next, offering words of
encouragement as he tended to their wounds.
On the second day,
one of the allied soldiers was shot outside their company perimeter.
Again, Mike raced to the side of the soldier, exposing himself to
constant fire. As bullets flew in every direction, Mike fired at the
enemy with one arm while dragging the injured soldier back to the
perimeter with the other.
Soon after they returned to their
unit, a rocket-propelled grenade exploded nearby and shot smoldering
metal into Mike’s back and into his leg. He was seriously, seriously
wounded. The shrapnel left a gaping hole in Mike’s foot. For the next 48
excruciating hours, he used a branch as a crutch and went on rescuing
the wounded. Mike did not stop to eat, to sleep, or even to care for his
own serious injury as he saved the lives of his fellow soldiers.
On the second and final night of the mission, the enemy surrounded
the company. All night long, Mike treated the wound and dug trenches to
protect them from blazing rockets and grenades. After four days of
constant engagement with the enemy, and after successfully destroying an
enemy base camp, Mike’s unit prepared to evacuate.
helicopters arrived, Mike fought back the enemy as his fellow soldiers
boarded the aircraft. He boarded the last chopper, limping up to the
craft while still warding off the enemy forces that were fast
As Mike puts it, "If you don’t believe in God, then
you should have been with us that day. And I can tell you, it’ll make a
believer out of you because we should not [ever] have survived." Mike,
today, we have a room full of people and a nation who thank God that you
Mike’s story doesn’t end there. Soon after
the helicopter lifted off the ground, the chopper was hit by enemy fire.
Mike, this is serious stuff. (Laughter.) This was not a good four days.
The bullets tragically struck a young Marine gunner
in the throat. Again, Mike rushed to help. As he wrapped a cloth around
the Marine’s neck, the engine of the helicopter failed, and the aircraft
crashed less than a mile from where it had taken off. Mike was thrown
off the aircraft before it hit the ground, but he raced back to the
crash site and pulled one man after another out of the smoking and
smoldering helicopter as it spewed jet fuel from its ruptured tanks.
Finally, another helicopter rescued them, and by the time they
reached the base, Mike was covered in blood. He refused treatment until
all of his men had been cared for first. In every action during
those four days, Mike valiantly fought for the life of his comrades,
even if it meant the end of his own life.
Mike, you will -- I
mean, I have to say, you really -- your will to endure, your love for
your fellow soldier, your devotion to your country inspires us all. I
have to tell you, that is something. Nations are formed out of the
strength and patriotism that lives in the hearts of our heroes.
Mike never knew for certain whether or not that Marine gunner who was
shot on the helicopter survived until earlier this year, when Mike
learned that the Marine had endured a painful and difficult recovery,
but that he had made it and lived a long and very full life before
passing away in 2012. As Mike said, “That in itself made it all worth
That Marine was one of many men Mike saved. Throughout
those four days, Mike treated an astounding 60 to 70 men. Their company
disrupted the enemy’s continual resupply of weapons, saving countless of
additional American lives.
Today, we are joined by many of
Mike’s brothers-in-arms who fought alongside him in Operation Tailwind,
along with brave airmen and Marines who provided critical support
throughout the mission. As Mike put it, “If it wasn’t for those air
crews, all of us would still be in Laos.”
Among those here today
are 10 members of Mike’s unit. Please stand up as I call your name:
Sergeant Major Morris Adair, Sergeant Don Boudreau, First Sergeant
Bernie Bright, Captain Pete Landon, Sergeant Jim Lucas, Lieutenant
Colonel Gene McCarley, First Sergeant Denver Minton, Sergeant Keith
Plancich, Specialist Five Craig Schmidt, and Staff Sergeant Dave Young.
Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.)
To Mike and all
the servicemembers who fought in the battle: You've earned the eternal
gratitude of the entire American nation. You faced down the evils of
communism, you defended our flag, and you showed the world the
unbreakable resolve of the American Armed Forces. Thank you. And thank
you very much.
After serving in Operation Tailwind, Mike went on
to become an officer in the Army and served for over 20 years.
Now Mike and his wife, Margaret -- Margaret, stand up, Margaret.
(Applause.) I met Margaret. Margaret is lovely -- reside in a fantastic
place, where I just left -- Huntsville, Alabama -- where he lives by a
core conviction: You serve your country by fixing your block or fixing
Mike volunteers with the American Legion, the
Knights of Columbus, and many other organizations. He volunteers at a
local soup kitchen, fixes broken appliances for elderly and disabled
neighbors, donates his hair for those suffering from cancer, makes
lunches for children in need, and organizes community gatherings to
bring people closer together -- which is something we need all over the
world and certainly in our country.
He's a loyal friend to his
fellow servicemembers, many of whom are, in addition, here today. And
every Wednesday, Kaitlyn and Christian come over for homework night with
grandpa and grandma.
I think Kaitlyn and Christian will agree --
and I just met them. You have to stand up. Come on, Christian. Come on.
Kaitlyn. (Applause.) But I think that Kaitlyn and Christian will agree
this fieldtrip is their best homework assignment yet. Right? What do you
think, Christian? (Laughter.) Yes? He said yes.
I'm told that
recently Christian asked his grandfather, “What exactly is the
Congressional Medal of Honor?” That is a wonderful question, Christian.
It’s the award given to America’s bravest heroes who earn our freedom
with their sacrifice. Those who receive the Medal of Honor went above
and beyond the call of duty to protect their fellow servicemembers and
defend our nation.
Kaitlyn and Christian, you are about to
witness your grandpa receive our nation’s highest military honor, and
America is about to witness Captain Gary Michael Rose recognized as the
true American hero that he is: a patriot who never gives up, never gives
in, and always stands strong for God, for family, and for country.
Mike, we honor you, we thank you, we salute you, and with hearts
full of admiration and pride, we present you with the Congressional
Medal of Honor.