The story of Green Beret Gary Michael Rose’s heroism is an epic of classified warfare and a stinging media scandal, but it might soon end with a Medal of Honor.

In 1970, Rose was the lone medic for a company of Special Forces soldiers and indigenous Vietnamese fighters during a risky, four-day assault deep into Laos. The badly injured Rose helped bring all the soldiers back alive and received the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second highest military honor, during a ceremony at the time in Vietnam.

“He is not a gung-ho person, he is very thoughtful, but he was a hell of a medic and I trusted him with my life,” said Keith Plancich, 66, who was a Special Forces squad leader on the mission.

But Rose and the other men were wrongly accused of taking part in war crimes in 1998 after the mission, called Operation Tailwind, was declassified and unearthed for the first time by CNN and its partner Time magazine.

Stunning claims that Rose and the Green Berets were sent to Laos to kill American defectors and that the military used sarin gas during the mission were fully discredited. CNN and Time retracted the story, which was co-written and presented by famed journalist Peter Arnett, but it cast a shadow over the mission that still remains.

The highest recognition of heroism is close for Rose and the Green Berets. The soft-spoken former medic might be the next Vietnam veteran to receive the Medal of Honor, after President Barack Obama presents the medal to retired Army pilot Lt. Col. Charles Kettles on Monday.


Image courtesy of courtesy of Ted Wicorek