President Donald Trump awarded the Medal of Honor to a retired Army captain during a White House ceremony on Monday. The event occurred as the president is embroiled in a controversy over his condolence call to the widow of an army sergeant recently killed during a mission in the African nation of Niger.
Gary Rose, 69, was awarded the honor for extraordinary heroism during a special forces secret mission in November 1970 against North Vietnamese forces in the Laotian jungle called “Operation Tailwind”.
Over four days of combat, according to the citation, without stopping to eat or sleep, Rose repeatedly ran into enemy fire to rescue and treat 60 to 70 men, even after being wounded himself by shrapnel.
“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,” Trump told Rose at the ceremony.
Though Rose was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross the year after his heroic acts. Some believe he was not awarded the Medal of Honor because the mission in Laos was not declassified until many years later.
Congress passed specific legislation allowing him to finally be awarded the Medal of Honor so many years after the usual five-year limit.
After the ceremony, Rose said the award is a collective medal of his unit and of all the special forces members who died in the conflict in Southeast Asia.