Army hopeful's thumbs up from US Army Hero


When 18-year-old Chris Collington was turned down by the British Army on medical grounds, he expected support from family and friends.

But he never expected words of encouragement from a Special Forces Green Beret and US Medal of Honour recipient.

Captain Mike Rose received his Medal from President Donald Trump only recently for his role as medic in a covert incursion during Operation Tailwind in the Vietnam War. 

Chris’s mother happened to relate her son’s plight to a Special Forces Association member, Adrian Law, who lives in Pannal Yorkshire, who then told his friend Mike in the USA.

Chris, 18, of Lovell Park View , Leeds, said: “To get such a gift and the encouraging words from Captain Mike just blew me away.

“I suffer from hyperhidrosis (sweating palms) and although I keep it under control with tablets, it seems it meant I didn’t pass the test this time around.”

“Captain Mike told me not to give up trying and what better endorsement could I receive than from a US Army veteran and legend. I can’t thank him and his associates enough.”

Capt Rose earned his plaudits – the highest US military honour – as a result of his heroism in the 1970s in far flung Laos.

He was instrumental in treating and leading the evacuation of US troops, a part of the covert operation in the country, designed as a strike at the North Vietnamese Army.

During the campaign, on numerous occasions he charged through enemy fire and single handedly treated 50 men to ensure their survival. The Hatchet Force men were eventually evacuated by helicopter, while still under heavy fire.

The operation remains one of the great unsung events (in Britain) during the summer of 1970.

Speaking from America, Capt Rose said: “I was proud to serve my country as part of the US military and especially to be honoured for such, though my thoughts are always first and foremost with the men who served with me. I heard about Chris’s difficulties and thought this would be a great boost to his continued hopes of entering the military. Good luck to you Chris from the United States.”

Capt Rose, from  Huntsville Alabama in the United States, now 70, was awarded the MOH by President Trump at a ceremony in the White House.

He sent his Green Beret, worn in Vietnam, to Chris. Capt Rose was initially given the DistinguishedService Cross for the event, due to the top secret nature of the Laos incursion, recently upgraded to the MOH in a special ceremony last Oct.