Trump Awards Medal of Honor to Gary M. Rose, Army Medic From Vietnam War
President Donald Trump presents the Medal of Honor to retired US Army Captain Gary Rose for actions during the Vietnam War during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on October 23, 2017 in Washington.Jim Watson / AFP - Getty Images
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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump awarded the Medal of Honor on Monday to a retired Army medic from Alabama who risked his life several times to provide medical care to his comrades during the Vietnam War.
Trump awarded retired Army Capt. Gary "Mike" Rose of Huntsville, Alabama, the nation's highest military honor during a White House ceremony.
In the East Room of the White House, Trump told military officials, Rose's family and brothers in arms that this award "will enshrine him into the history of our nation."
"Your will to endure, your love for your fellow soldier, your devotion to your country inspires us all," Trump said Monday. "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."
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At times, he spoke directly to Rose's grandchildren — Kaitlyn and Christian — about their grandfather's heroism, adding that Monday's "field trip" to the White House is their "best homework assignment yet."
The White House said Rose, 69, is being recognized for his gallantry while serving as a medic with the 5th Special Forces Group during combat operations in Vietnam in September 1970. Rose repeatedly ran into the line of enemy fire to provide medical care, and used his body on one occasion to shield a wounded American from harm.
On the final day of the mission, Rose was wounded but put himself in the line of fire while moving wounded personnel to an extraction point, loading them into helicopters and helping to repel an enemy assault.
As he boarded the final extraction helicopter, the aircraft was hit with intense enemy fire and crashed shortly after takeoff.
"Mike, this is serious stuff. This was not a good four days," Trump said, describing the events.
The White House said Rose ignored his own injuries and pulled the helicopter crew and members of his unit from the burning wreckage and provided medical care until another extraction helicopter arrived.
Rose is a 20-year veteran of the Army. He will be the second person to be awarded the Medal of Honor by Trump. The president honored James McCloughan of South Haven, Michigan, in July for his actions to save wounded soldiers in a Vietnam kill zone.
After the ceremony, Rose told reporters gathered in the White House driveway the medal was more than just his. “This is our medal," he said. "We all earned it."
Ali Vitali is a political reporter for NBC News, based in Washington.