President Trump on Monday awarded the Medal of Honor to retired Army Capt. Gary "Mike" Rose, a medic who delivered care under fire to nearly 70 wounded soldiers during the Vietnam War.
"Mike did not stop to eat, to drink or even to care for his own injury as he saved his fellow soldiers," Trump recalled during an East Room ceremony with Rose, his family, and 10 members of his former unit.
Rose was wounded in his back and legs during Operation Tailwind, a covert four-day mission in southeastern Laos in 1970.
"For many years, the story of Mike's heroism has gone untold, but today we gather to tell the world of his valor and present him with the highest military honor our country has to offer," Trump said. "This will enshrine him into the history of our nation."
Rose, 71, received training as a Special Forces medic when he enlisted in the Army in 1967. He was sent to Laos two years later, where his unit came under attack by the North Vietnamese Army. Despite rapid gunfire overhead, Rose "crawled from one soldier to the next" to provide lifesaving treatment, Trump said Monday.
The retired Army captain, who was seriously wounded during the attack, recalled being able to fit his entire index finger in his own wound before proceeding to return to his duties. When it came time for his unit to evacuate, the helicopter he loaded onto was hit by enemy fire and crashed. Rose immediately began retrieving injured men from the wreckage.
"As Mike puts it, 'If you don't believe in God, then you should have been with us that day,'" Trump said.
Rose, who lives in Huntsville, Ala., was joined by his wife and two grandchildren on Monday. He told reporters following the ceremony that the award was "a collective medal" for all military personnel who served in Vietnam.
"This is our medal, it's not mine. We all earned it," Rose said.