Forty-seven years ago, on September 14, 1970, 16 Green Berets and 120 fearless indigenous troops completed what amounts to a suicide mission deep into Laos in one of the most successful covert operations conducted during the eight-year secret war under the aegis of the Military Assistance Command Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group, or simply SOG.

What makes that clandestine operation apropro today is the fact that the sole Green Beret medic on that mission, then-Sgt. Gary Mike Rose is slated to receive the Medal of Honor from President Donald Trump at the White House later this year. There’s been no formal announcement of the date of the award presentation.

In 2015, SOFREP was the first to print a major series on Operation Tailwind and the valor of the men on the ground deep in Laos and the aviators who provided critical close air support to them during the four day mission including Marine Corps CH-53D heavy-lift helicopters, Marine Corps Cobra gunships from Scarface, from HML-367, Air Force A1-H Skyraiders, Army gunships, Air Force F-4 Phantom jets, Air Force C-130 Spectre gunships and Forward Air Controllers. The mission was simple: Take the pressure off of a CIA Operation in the Bolovens Plateau where the agency’s 5,000 troops were battling thousands of communist N. Vietnamese Army troops moving south to invade Cambodia, after Prince Sihanouk’s regime was overthrown by Lon Nol and Sisowath Sirik Matak. The NVA leaders wanted control of the Bolovens Plateau to improve bringing supplies and manpower into Cambodia to attack South Vietnamese and U.S. targets in S. Vietnam.

Normally, Laotian SOG operations were limited to 20 kilometers west of Vietnam’s borders. Operation Tailwind was booked to go approximately 25 kilometers further west beyond that limitation. To go that deep into Laos required formal approval from the Laotian ambassador and from the U.S. commander of all forces in Vietnam, General Creighton Abrams. In short order, after the CIA’s request for emergency help was issued, the approvals were received from the White and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, giving the mission a green light.