Captain Rose served as a medic in the Military Assistance Command Serves and Observation Group, an elite special forces unit that did missions into laos which was officially off limits to American forces during the Vietnam War.
Rose enlisted in the Army on April 1967 and by 1968, he had graduated as a Special Forces training as a medic and was assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group. A year later he was reassigned to the 46th Special Forces Company whose headquarters was in Thailand. Rose was reassigned again in April 1970 to a top secret military unit called the Military Assistance Command Studies and Observations Group or MAG SOC. This special unit was to join forces with local fighters in laos and to attack the North Vietnamese military stationed there.
It was on Sept. 11, 1970, that top secret unit was on a mission behind enemy lines. While on patrol they came into direct fire with the North Vietnamese Army and a fierce firefight started. During this first contact, two American soldiers and two indigenous Montagnards fighters were wounded. Rose, a sergeant at the time, started to carry the wounded soldiers on his back while still returning fire as he ran through the rain of enemy gun fire. Sgt. Rose treated more than fifty soldiers during that initial contact. The official Army report states that Sgt. Rose had to, at times, crawl to fighting positions to treat wounded soldiers. Wounded Rose still was able to treat the injured soldiers ensuring all sixteen Americans made it back with him.
Sgt. Rose was still not done even when they were being extracted from the battle area. During the extraction, a helicopter sustained a critical issue and crashed to the ground leaving multiple soldiers injured and one dead. Rose, still wounded, jumped out of his helicopter and ran to the crashed one. He started pulling out the soldiers he could get to, once again saving more American lives.
“The actions that Mike performed during that operation, you can’t imagine it, you can’t put it into words,” said retired Lt. Col. Eugene McCarley, the commander of the unit, during the presentation, “We were going into an area that U.S. forces had not been in and had we not come out the day we were extracted, we probably would not have left.” McCarley and other members from the unit have fought for over 40 years together to get the award upgraded from the original medal he was awarded, the Distinguished Service Cross, the second highest Army medal.
"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 out nation's highest military honor," President Donald Trump said. During the ceremony on Monday, Rose received the Medal of Honor for his “extraordinary selfless service.” President Trump read the details of Rose's harrowing acts before awarding him the medal, finally recognizing him as "the true American hero that he is."
Following the ceremony, Rose told reporters after receiving the award from the President that he considered the award to be "a collective medal" for all the men and women who served during the Vietnam War. "This is our medal, it's not mine. We all earned it," Rose said.