Virginia OCS dedicates building to Capt. Harry Q. Rose

(L-R) Helen Rose Creel, Lt. Col. Harry Gardner, Phyllis Rose Gardner and Albert Lee Creel stand next to the sign commemorating Capt. Harry Q. Rose, Sept. 22, 2018, at the Virginia National Guard’s Officer Candidate School building at Fort Pickett, Virginia. (U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Staff Sgt. Matt Lyman)

FORT PICKETT, Va. — An intimate gathering of Soldiers and family members marked the dedication of the Virginia National Guard’s Officer Candidate School building in honor of Capt. Harry Q. Rose Sept. 22, 2018, at Fort Pickett, Virginia.

Rose graduated from OCS Class VI in 1966 and earned the honor graduate distinction after completing the Field Artillery Officer Basic Course at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where he first branched as an artillery officer.

“He called me one day and said, ‘You know Sissy, I think I’d like to fly helicopters,” recounted Phyllis Rose Gardner, older sister of Rose. She suggested her brother volunteer to attend flight school, he took her advice and received a call that said, “Lt. Rose, you’ve been accepted to flight school.”

Rose graduated flight school and became a UH-1C Huey helicopter pilot and flew in Vietnam, assigned to the 116th Assault Helicopter Company.

The citation for Rose’s Air Medal with Valor, dated Oct. 28, 1968, and awarded posthumously reads:

“Republic of Vietnam – For heroism participation in aerial flights in connection with military operation against a hostile force: Captain Rose distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions while serving as pilot of an armed UH-1C helicopter during a combat assault mission in support of friendly infantry. During the first approach into the hostile area, a murderous barrage of enemy automatic weapons fire was received and Captain Rose’s wing ship was hit and forced to crash land into the jungle. He immediately realized that the enemy would make an attempt to seize the downed aircraft and crew. He daringly flew his ship between the enemy emplacements and the downed aircraft. Although he received a tremendous hail of enemy fire, he bravely held his position and returned accurate suppressive fire. Through his courage and determination, the attack by the enemy was held off until the crew of the downed ship was rescued.”

“Today, we dedicate a building in my uncle’s honor and I can see nothing more fitting than this building where the Officer Candidate School conducts its business,” said retired Marine Lt. Col. Harry L. Gardner, Rose’s nephew. “It was at Officer Candidate School where the foundations of leadership, honor, courage and the commitment of service to the nation and the commonwealth were strengthened and firmly rooted into his core.”

“I am so proud we named this building in honor of him,” said Col. Todd H. Hubbard, commander of the 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute. “As I was growing up, my uncle was in Vietnam and some of the stories you were telling reminded me of some of the stories I heard as a child. My uncle was an infantryman and I know he depended on helicopter pilots, just like Capt. Rose, to get him in and out and keep him safe. Who knows, they may have even met at some point on the battlefield and it just brings chills to me to think about what happened and to read about Capt. Rose,” added Hubbard.

Prior to Capt. Rose’s name gracing the entryway to building 2103 at Fort Pickett, a leadership award was given in his honor to the graduating officer candidate who, throughout officer training, demonstrated a high level of leadership, embodying the statement in the OCS Creed, “I will shoulder more than my share of the task no matter how difficult in may be. One hundred percent and then some. Gallantly, I will show the world that I am worthy of the trust placed in me to be the best trained candidate, and I will be.”

The evidence of Capt. Rose touching the lives of candidates today is evident by the class project of the recently-graduated OCS Class 60, who made it their goal to ensure appropriate signage was designed, approved and provided for the ceremony.

“We did a drill at the State Military Reservation [in Virginia Beach] and we went to see where the original OCS building was and they showed us where the plaque is there commemorating Capt. Rose and then we started talking about the project, ” said 2nd Lt. Joe Kriz, assigned to the Virginia Beach-based Charlie Troop, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment. “Shortly after that we started planning to look and see what was the best option for placement, sign type etc.”

To this day, Rose is the only graduate of the Virginia’s Officer Candidate School to make the ultimate sacrifice in combat.

“It’s a great honor to be part of this and participate and be the class that was instrumental in getting the building renamed and presenting everything and do the planning for it and it’s one of the biggest things here at OCS to be constantly reminded to lead from the front,” said Kriz.

Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Matt Lyman